Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spears' "Big Apple Circus" Comes to Town

The following italicized article is from

A legless woman and a bald man traded tricks on a trampoline. A midget ringleader shouted encouragement from the sideline. Martial artists kicked and flipped in unison.

A near-capacity audience hooted with disbelief as a gymnast flipped and jumped on an inches-wide balance beam.

Then things got more surreal.

Nearly 10 minutes into Spears’ Tuesday night show at Tulsa’s BOK Center, the main attraction herself descended from the ceiling into the center of a gyrating circus.

Spears was nearly lost in the mix. Her dancing, caged animal routine was sexy, but the masked men who danced around her wheeled golden cage during “Piece of Me” stole the show.

By stomping her heels and strutting across the stage in glittered bombast, she stole it right back.

The evening’s show was an over-the-top big top performance in every way. It had to be. Spears is larger than life. Everything about her is gilded and glitzy, over-hyped and hyperspeed. Her “Circus” tour show showcases those traits.

The three-ring spectacle was filled with live choreography — Spears as its sultry ringleader, if not its full-time singer.

The five-act legion of illusion and bewitchment wasn’t the only sleight-of-hand Tuesday night. Much of her set was lip-synched — and Spears was too busy dancing and contorting to be bothered with concealing it.

The lack of “live” singing at a concert is controversial for many, but not for this crowd. The fans came to be entertained.

A magician appeared to cut the star into pieces and then made her lingerie-clad form disappear while she lip-synched and shimmied to “Ooh Ooh Baby” and “Hot as Ice.”

And then there was another costume change and another hippodrome-ready vision of pomp and grandeur.

Half a dozen gold-plated low-rider bicycles rolled in. Dancers enveloped Spears, and then — a solo.

She covered Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” sans fanfare, nearly alone on stage and dressed in rocker black spandex pants and bikini top. She traipsed out from the circus and into a house of fun.

Quite possibly the largest crowd response came with her live version of “Everytime” as she sat perched in a shimmering bird seat.

Following that song, she skipped, cat-like, into another costume change and into songs “Freakshow” and “Get Naked.”

Masked men gave way to more than a dozen dancers on golden couches. “Breathe on Me” and “Touch of My Hand” followed in an electrified freakshow-peepshow segment.

That morphed into metallic props and welding sparks as a leather-wearing troupe launched into a tattoo and boom-beat segment with “Do Something,” “Toxic” and a street-tough, amped-dance version of “Baby One More Time.”

The live band was lost in the pits for most of the show but gained momentum toward the end of the concert. The organic sound of beating drums and wailing guitars added a sense of humanity — even if it was surreally Technicolored.

But, all that said, even with the sex, the innuendo, the crassness, the bombast and the million-dollar production, there’s still a subtle naïveté about Spears and her stage presence. It peeks from beneath her curtain of hair extensions and her torrid lash-batting, but it’s there.

She didn’t command her audience — but that seemed OK because everyone was already along for the ride.

In many ways, Spears is still the child-like Disney Musketeer. She’s choreographed; she’s beautiful; and her timing’s perfect.

Maybe that’s why, weirdly, it all worked.

Source: Tulsa Word

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