As a huge star shaped craft bursts through the Witness iris, Katy Perry appears and with no hesitation breaks into Witness as she glides down to stage. Followed by Roulette, as parkouring dancers weave in and out of giant gold dice. Crowd favourite Dark Horse was played out to an intricate choreography on rising pillars where Katy and her PVC clad dancers writhe and mix; it’s this stage setup along with many other pieces in the Witness tour that transcend above a live performance and become the fun, performance art that Katy Perry is known for; delivering a show that’s titillating and incredible to watch right in front of you on stage. Perry’s savvy with a screen shows that once the on-stage visuals are viewed through the big video screens at side of stage, you see her antics take on a posterized look, like live anime on display. Chained to the Rhythm has a Pink Floyd aesthetic going on with the big TV headed dancers chasing Katy everywhere around the amazing, interactive stage. Teenage Dream becomes an 80s candy Max Headroom mash-up with Katy appearing in one of the evening’s five costume changes, this one, looking like a sparkly David Byrne.
Katy takes many opportunities to press pause on the antics and break it down on the mic with her fans…“Listen, I don’t know if a lot of you are seeing me for the first time, I know a lot of you came from many different places in New Zealand (delivered with a pretty good kiwi accent), I’ve just got to say if you had any anxiety or you were fearful at all that I wouldn’t play your favourite song, like the hits, you can let that go now. Because I like to go deep into the vault, especially with this next one, it’s ten years old, don’t you worry sweetiepies, I’ve got your back. This is a pop star that believes in you. I know exactly what you want, I go to concerts too, I wanna sing along, I wanna know all the words. I don’t want the B sides. I want the hits! You might get a couple of B sides tonight, who knows – but not now! This is Hot Cold.” As Katy performs flashing LEDs beam out from her chest and sync up to the action on Hot Cold, California Girls and more; which gives you an appreciation for how hard Katy trains, she’s giving it everything in this energetic show – cartwheeling, playing guitar, dancing, getting up into contraptions that move out over the entire crowd and have a heavy piece of set strapped to your body for a good chunk of show. Through it all though, Katy‘s now iconic voice never falters, never cracks. Katy Perry consistently displays why she is at the very top of the pop heap and as the woman herself says “For a lot of you that are seeing me for the first time you‘re probably thinking what am I watching this is weird, but I kind of like it. I just want to say thank you for spending your hard earned money, for paying for parking [Katy really DOES know the struggles of her Auckland fans!] and for giving your kids sugar so they can stay up late, they are going to be nightmares tomorrow. But for over ten years you’ve very warmly and thoroughly welcomed me and I really enjoy coming over to New Zealand these gorgeous islands. So Fresh! So organic! Every single time when I have a tour I’m never going to leave you off the map, OK? Thank you for pushing play for over ten years and for staying with me, I know there‘s a lot of people out there and a lot of choice so it means a lot to me that you’re still with me and on this journey.” Before launching into Into Me You See, Katy lets us know it’s a love song and she’s dedicating it to us because in New Zealand she feels “…safe, seen and celebrated.”