It would be an understatement to say that the change was successful. Even if her name isn't instantly recognizable, her songs are. Not only are they seemingly everywhere, but they are almost infuriatingly catchy. They are pop anthems: emotional, upbeat, bombastic and full of joie de vivre.
And though Perry, with her two backup singers, eight dancers, and full band, has been putting on the California Dreams performance for four months, she pulled it off with vigor, passion, and whimsy Friday night, with nary a scent of fatigue.
A bit after 9, Perry emerged onto a stage decked out in lollipop and candy-cane staircases, cotton-candy-bordered projection screens and gumdrop cutouts. Wearing a red-and-white dress with twirling peppermint, she launched into the title track from her second album, Teenage Dream.
The crowd - mainly females of all ages, plus a smattering of love-struck junior high boys, boyfriends, husbands, and gay men - was ecstatic. Throughout the night, they belted out the lyrics with Perry, dancing in the aisles until security forced them back to their seats.
Her two-hour performance covered all of her hits and then some, including a few MTV Unplugged-style interpretations of tunes such as Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" and Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'." There also were pyrotechnics, confetti, costume changes, a whipped-cream bazooka, and a cotton-candy cloud that hovered over the audience with Perry perched on top.
Perry's whimsical and humanizing stage banter, along with the show's attention to detail and well-played effort to create a fairy-tale world, left a very satisfied crowd. From the choreographed dance routines to the well-executed special effects, it was a top-notch performance that left the audience still singing Perry's songs long after the last notes of her closing song, "California Gurls."