Britney Spears was in Vancouver last night for a one-night stop of her Femme Fatale tour. I’ve never seen Britney live, but I’ve seen enough of her recent TV performances to know that she’s not the performer she used to be. Needless to say, my expectations were quite low.
When we arrived, Nicki Minaj was already half way through her set. I’m very happy we were late. I don’t know much about her music, and seeing her live discouraged me to learn more about her. Most of her songs featured other artists, so Minaj spent a lot of time “dancing” instead of performing. The costume changes were slightly awkward as the stage were often left empty.
Worst of all, Minaj had a plot going. Instead of enhancing her set though, this narrative was rather cheesy and boring. Sometimes, less is more, and Minaj definitely could have used more of less.
As for her actual performances (when she was performing), Minaj was quite cute and bubbly. She sang and rapped live (as far as I can tell). I was a bit surprised that many teenage girls liked her, but I guess she’s just on a hot streak right now.
Britney’s set started exactly 45 minutes after Minaj’s. This was quite a long time, so my friends Ruby and Anastasia and I walked around Rogers Arena just to see what’s up. In deep contrast to the Bruno Mars concert, the line ups for merchandise were not long at all. The line ups for booze and for the washrooms, on the other hand, were quite insane .
When Britney finally came out, the crowd went nuts. She opened with “Hold It Against Me”, the lead single from her new album. I enjoyed her performances of her new stuff with the exception of “How I Roll”. The song is nice, but it’s definitely not concert material. I think it’s because the song has a relatively slow pace. We came to see Britney dance, y’all!
“Drop Dead (Beautiful)” was pleasing, and the crowd totally ate it up. The song has an infectious chorus that everyone can sing along to.
Where Britney’s set really excelled though is with the pop star’s back catalog. “I’m a Slave For You” and “Baby One More Time” brought the crowd to its feet. I was pleased that Britney performed different versions of these songs instead of sticking to their original form.
Britney closed her set with “Toxic” and “Till the World Ends”. “Toxic” is just as intoxicating live as it is in its recorded version.
Overall, I was actually pleased with Ms. Spears. Sure, her dancing skills are no longer up to par with her former self, but the choreography matched her current skill level. Her back up dancers also enhanced the show very much.
As for her vocal performance, Britney sang sorta live. The backing track was loud for the most part, but Britney’s mic was on.
I think what the concert lacked — both in Minaj’s and Britney’s sets — was a bit more spontaneity. As far as audience interaction go, the best these chicks can come up with are “Happy Canada Day” and “Vancouver!”. Spears said “I can’t hear you” a couple of times, but even that felt a bit rehearsed.
Femme Fatale was a fun, mindless concert, but I think the audience knew that going into it. I know I did. I probably wouldn’t have paid full for the concert (I got my ticket through Groupon), but I’m glad I’ve finally seen one of the biggest pop stars of my teenage years.
Cross posted on kcclaveria.com.