The time of the “game” has started in Las Vegas.
On Wednesday night, Katy Perry kicked off her long-awaited Las Vegas residency at the Resorts World Theater. Aptly titled “Play,” the show is the epitome of Perry, who indulged in the emotional, over the top, whimsical, psychedelic and even cheesy for 95 minutes.
The concert – which the artist refers to as “Perry Playland” – amounted to a giant chant, which seemed to be exactly what she had in mind. Just a day before opening night, Perry posted a video of the setlist so fans could get ready and review the lyrics.
“Perry Playland”, she captioned, is “Where you can come and sing along with so many of your favorite songs!”
On opening night, Perry kept his promise. The Californian singer unearthed tracks as early as 2008, such as “Hot n Cold” and “Waking Up in Vegas”, but also made the live debut of “When I’m Gone”, a new song with Alesso that was released a few hours before she took the stage. She also covered Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All”, which is no small feat.
Yet the music was only part of the show. That being Katy Perry, the production was larger than life.
Sometimes “Play” sounded a lot like an ode to Pee-wee’s playhouse, the Pee-wee Herman children’s program that aired on Saturday mornings from 1986 to 1990. Much like that series, “Play” featured oversized talking furniture. A stationary piece of “Chained to the Rhythm” featured a dancing alarm clock choreographing movements alongside a sock puppet and two rhythmic walkie-talkies. (The infamous Left Shark and Right Shark from Perry’s 2015 Super Bowl halftime show didn’t make a physical appearance, but were referenced in several animated sequences.) Another scene included a huge bathroom, with a colossal tub, a gigantic bar of soap and, yeah, a talking toilet.
Other settings were less childish and more luxurious. An elaborate staircase filled the stage towards the end of the show during “Teenage Dream”.
In the audience, fans paid tribute to the singer by recreating some of her most iconic music video looks. Most of the 5,000 people also wore masks to help fight the spread of the raging Omicron variant. Perry encouraged masks and even incorporated the safety recommendation into the show, at one point speaking to an oversized mask – which she called “Mr. Maskie.
“You’ve really helped us this year,” said Perry. As the prop left the stage, she subtly tugged at the anti-masks, saying, “Applaud Mr. Maskie – especially if you believe in him.”
Next, Perry played a fitting performance of “Lost,” a research ballad from his 2008 debut on a major record label. “It embodies what some of you may be feeling during this whole pandemic,” she said.
Earlier that night, Perry acknowledged fans for venturing into the theater during the Covid era.
“It’s been a really crazy couple years, hasn’t it?” she said. “I don’t know what next year will bring, do I? You really rolled the dice with me tonight and I appreciate it.
Perry is the second artist to perform at the newly opened Resorts World Theater, after Carrie Underwood, who christened the venue earlier this month. Perry’s “Play” residency runs through mid-January and returns for more shows in March.
List of songs:
2. “Chained to the rhythm”
3. “Black horse”
4. “It’s not the end of the world”
5. “California Gurls”
6. “Hot N ‘Cold” / “Last Friday Night”
7. “Waking up in Vegas”
8. “Bon appétit”
10. “I kissed a girl”
11. “Lost” / “Part of me” / “Wide Awake”
12. “Swish Swish”
13. “When I’m gone” / “Walk in the air!” “
14. “Never really finished”
15. “Teenage dream”
18. “The greatest love of all” (cover by Whitney Houston)