There are some artists who blow through town that you may hear about and think “Well, that’d be nice if I won tickets” or “Maybe a friend will invite me”, or “Who gives a crap? I only know one song, and it kind of blows anyway.” Katy Perry is not one of those artists.
She doesn’t know it of course, but Katy Perry’s musical repertoire–that runs the gamut from the fun, flirty pop of “California Gurls” to the more longing “Thinking of You”–has become an integral part of the soundtrack to my life for the last couple years or so. I can’t begin to tell you how cheesy I think that the words “soundtrack to my life” really are, but I can’t think of a better way to put it at the moment, so deal with it. With this being the case, when I found out she was coming to Austin on the California Dreams tour, it was the same question as Lady Gaga: Not “if”, but “where would we sit?”
I bought the tickets on pre-sale in February using my dad’s Amex again (they *must* know he has a daughter or gay son by now, based on concert ticket purchases alone), and the first person who responded to my invite was Brian. Come to think of it, Brian was the perfect friend to take, seeing as on our many rides to retrieve my car from downtown, he’s endured my singing of “Teenage Dream” for almost a year now. He’s also someone I could see gaying out more than me during the concert, which does wonders for distracting from my own silly concert behavior.
I won’t lie: for the next 6 months, it was nice driving by the Erwin Center on the way downtown and seeing the sign flash up Katy Perry; it reminded me the whole time that even after the high of seeing Gaga wore off, good times were yet to come.
We arrived at the concert to the typical Erwin Center clusterf**k, except this time more pedestrians were wearing blue wigs. After parking, we entered in exactly where our section was located, so that was convenient. $7 beers were also convenient, but still the usual rip off. We walked inside and attempted to find our seats. Based on the ticket price, I fully expected to be directed to the nosebleed section, but Brian and I had already determined we were OK with that; we just wanted to see Katy, even it meant sitting on top of Mt. Everest. Imagine our surprise when the ticket lady said we needed to go CLOSER to the stage. Our seats were even past the second usher; you know, the one holding the chain. Holy shit–we were crazy close. How the hell did that happen?
The next 10 minutes were spent geeking out over how awesome the seats were, and I got my first look at my fellow concert goers. In addition to both some clever and horribly tragic costumes, the audience could be broken down into 4 categories: 1.) Straight girls, and lots of them; 2.) Their hot boyfriends who clearly did not want to be there; 3.) Moms and daughters (Really?); and 4.) Gays. And somehow, we ended up sitting next to a slightly embarrassed dad who had brought his son. A son I suspect may be part of group #4 in about 8-10 years.
Robyn was the opening act. She’s one of those artists I was hoping would open for Katy, but whose music in all actuality I had very little familiarity with. Apparently she’s huge with the gay dance scene, and has had a hit in the 90′s. In fact, according to my Facebook feed, some gay guys’ only motivation for the concert was seeing Robyn. Her music was OK, and at some point she deep-throated a banana. After that, I kinda wished I knew more about her.
One more round of beer, and I wanted to see Katy. And then it began. And just like at Gaga, I went into a trance. The stage was reminiscent of the “California Gurls” video, adorned with candy cane ramps and lollipops. She had integrated a video of herself running around chasing a kitty or something, but none of that mattered when I heard the first notes of “Teenage Dream”.
This was by far the most important song to me, for several reasons, most of which make my friends’ eyes roll back in their heads. I’m also pretty sure that projecting my own boy-related shit onto this tune has probably ruined the song for at least three people, but I don’t really care. It’s also the song I listened to when I was starting my rapid weight loss regimen on the treadmill. When I heard “Teenage Dream”, the incline went up, the speed got faster, and I was power walking my way to being svelte so he really could put his hands on me in my skintight (well, Dior) jeans. And eventually, he did. So in a way, thanks to Katy Perry’s inspiration, I got skinny and got the guy who previously blew me off. The 10,000 things wrong with everything I just said has been noted, and is not up for debate or explanation. Just know I’m self-aware enough to realize it, and I’ll deal with it later. Of course hearing it live, I flipped out like I knew I would, and you can hear me belting it off-key in both video clips Brian and I have from the moment. It was beautiful.
“Waking Up In Vegas”: Waking up hungover, broke, losing a motel key and needing an ATM is just as easily done in Austin as Vegas. Just saying.
“Ur So Gay”: A confusing song that I can only see being about some old boyfriend who combines all the worst traits of indie, emo, and metrosexual guys in one person. It’s like describing a trendy Frankenstein-like monster. One you’ve never heard of, I’m sure.
“I Kissed A Girl”: Ah, the one that started it all. I guess it’s more catchy than my version “I Kissed A Girl And Was Completely Ambivalent About It, But It Wasn’t As Gross As I Thought It Would Be.”
“Peacock”: “I wanna see your peacock, -cock, -cock; your peacock, -cock, -cock”…while she lightly jerks off a microphone. This is the kind of stuff that made me question the wisdom of bringing the kids, but maybe they’re not jaded enough to understand it. Yet.
“Hummingbird Heartbeat”: Not a single, and I only heard it in Brian’s car that afternoon. I fell in love with it, just in time to hear it live. It stirs what passes as emotions inside of me, even though I’m pretty sure she’s alluding to semen through half of it.
“E.T.”: What, no Kanye?
“Whip My Hair” (Willow Smith’s Cover): Katy, please put an end to this now. I beg of you.
“Thinking Of You”: She sang this standing on a pink cloud that went up to the audience. How cute! I want one.
“Hot N Cold”: Describes every gay guy I know.
“Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”: Perfect song for our Fridays, because it pretty much sums up what a typical Friday night is for me (Remember, soundtrack to my life…). And nothing like an entire arena screaming “TGIF”.
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Whitney Houston’s Cover): It’s safe to say I lost my mind when Katy Perry unexpectedly covered Whitney Houston. That’s like, a whole lotta gay in one sitting. And also, another one of my exercise songs. The audience members (especially the young girls) who were lucky enough to be invited up on stage must have had the time of their lives. Those bitches.
“Firework”: There were real fireworks. And we cried. Of course we cried.
“California Gurls” (Encore): I thought of my best friend Jen who lives in San Francisco, since this was our Palm Desert vacation song. And a fabulous, upbeat note to end on.
Another mind-blowing concert in the bag. The only way any of this could have been better is if Katy Perry took me up on my invite to come to Charlie’s and party with us the rest of the night. That would’ve been my real teenage, er…adult dream.
5 Stars *surrounded by fireworks* for Katy Perry’s California Dreams Tour. We love you.