Britney Spears – Odyssey Belfast
October 26, 2011 Chris Caldwell 0 Comments
Like most boys (men) of my age I remember Britney when she first burst onto the worlds radar as a nubile lolita figure belting out a song about domestic violence whilst dressed as a slutty school girl. Cut from that to near 15 years later and what I saw last night at the “Femme Fatale” tour and, well, let’s start by saying the concert was “interesting”.
My wife is a Britney fan. I was a Britney fan, albeit for different reasons than my wife is. She has been an omnipresent figure since I was about 15. So when I got an e-mail yesterday saying I had won 2 tickets (a near £130 value) to go and see Britney live at the Odyssey Arena Belfast, I thought “might as well”. We missed the support act of Joe Jonas, a single Jonas brother( I guess they’ve split the Horcruxes up). So as we got in with 5 minutes to spare the first thing we saw was a giant screen counting down to the start of the show.
The place was mostly full. A massive stage had been erected with all sorts of moving video walls and what looked like a pylons either side. The countdown finished and an intro video started playing on the screens. Some creepy guy talking into a microphone and then videos of Britney getting arrested. It would become clear over the night, as these video’s peppered the concert, that this was supposed to be some sort of narrative about a guy stalking Britney or working for a radio station or talking about “Femme Fatales”(who know which). Basically it was incomprehensible but it presumably allowed Britney to get changed between songs and apparently allowed her to wheel out set designs like a Prison and an ancient Egyptian Boat and a Barbie jeep.
But I digress, Britney eventually appeared to a sea of cheers and a hero’s welcome! She looked fine for a woman who’s now 30 years old, but it’s obvious she’s not the performer she once was. She then proceeded to mime every song bar one and shuffle her way through the most unenergetic dance routines I’ve ever seen. She did a lot of hand dancing and not a lot of foot dancing.
She had a fleet of about 12 dancers and as they danced up a storm Britney generally stood in the middle and moved her arms. Then she skipped to the next mark and repeated the action. In the middle came the bit where she sung live. I think it was live. To achieve this she had to sit on a swing, I’m not sure if the act of standing and singing would’ve been too much, but we’ll never find out because she never did both simultaneously. The culmination of the concert and the increasingly bizarre video clips was the coming together of the 2 pylons and as the pylons (for whatever reason) spat fireworks into the sky Britney ascended towards the roof and giant angels wings unfurled, or at least they were supposed to. One unfurled and the other sat there limp and life less.
The concert was fine but as I said to my wife afterwards, it was more like “Britney: The Musical” than a Britney concert. She didn’t sing, she barely danced and she looked oddly vacant throughout. But with that much stage production and actual dancers it’s hard not to enjoy the spectacle.