Some concerts make you marvel at the musical prowess of a band. Some concerts have you in awe of songwriting ability. Some concerts remind you of your youth.
But Britney Spears concert is in a different league of gigs.
The pop legend, the phoenix who rose from a messy divorce, a breakdown and intense public scrutiny, has brought her Las Vegas residency Piece Of Me across the world, and last night it hit Londons O2 Arena.
After seeing Britney at Brighton Pride, a concert that saw 57,000 people scream Who is it? at the stage ahead of Gimme More, I wasnt sure how much the concert could improve. But Britney is definitely an arena girl – and last nights show proved it.
Following an energetic set from Pitbull to perfectly soundtrack the thousands of Pinot Grigios being downed in the room – seriously, who knew Pitbull had so many bangers? – Britney emerged to Work Bitch, and set the tone for a night that had the entire O2 on their feet.
It cannot be denied – the Piece of Me setlist is majestic. Spanning all parts of Brits career, from a innocent Baby One More Time days to her rebellious Im A Slave 4U period to the grown-up Make Me… stage, its basically a night of blissful karaoke. From the opening bars of Work Bitch, segueing into Womanizer, Break The Ice, Piece Of Me and a childhood-affirming mash-up of Baby One More Time and Oops! I Did It Again, everybody was belting out the words and dancing, like one gigantic hen do.
Yes, Britney was miming – but who cares? The production value and the dance routines were incredible, and lets face it, nobody with a ticket was there for Britneys vocals. Theyre there for the timeless tunes, to see their teen idol, and to have fun with their friends. And Piece of Me satisfies all of those needs.
The only dips in momentum came with Britney performing newer songs Clumsy and Change Your Mind, and the drop in tempo thanks to the sensual Breathe On Me – surely everyones cue to run to the loos.
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But when she returned, she unleashed Toxic and a mash-up of Stronger and (You Drive Me) Crazy – which, by the way, could be the greatest musical moment of our time (do not @ me).
Ending the show with Till The World Ends and a confetti explosion, Britney waved goodbye to thousands of fans who immediately left the venue to continue partying.
Piece of Me proves that good concerts are not dependent on live bands (although she did have one) and vocals that lift the rafters. Theyre dependent on the fun factor and the tunes – and Britney provided both in droves. From her bizarre Mary Poppins impression while getting the arena to cheer, to dragging a poor lad on stage to walk him around on a leash during Freak Show, Britney is still a showgirl through and through, and for diehard fans, its a delight to see her back on top form.
Piece Of Me setlist
Break The Ice/Piece Of Me
… Baby One More Time/ Oops! I Did It Again
Me Against The Music
Clumsy/Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortes)
Scream and Shout
Do You Wanna Come Over?
Work It/Get Ur Freak On/ WTF
Im A Slave 4 U
If U Seek Amy
Breathe On Me
Stronger/(You Drive Me) Crazy
Till The World Ends
Britney Spears plays the O2 Arena, London, on 25 and 26 August, Birmingham on 31 August, and Blackpool on 1 September.
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