Wednesday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills, all the haters
who couldn’t stand Britney Spears’s image and all that
she stood for began to admit that they couldn’t help but
secretly hum her catchy tunes and that she was undoubtedly a great
performer — and perform she did.
Fans who booed off wanna-be Avril Lavigne, Skye Sweetman, were
ecstatic to see the set for Spears’s show. Large, red,
triangular curtains shielded the stage in a zigzag pattern. When
they lifted, two lit staircases illuminated the sides of the stage.
Screens in the center allowed close-up views of Spears as she made
her way around the stage.
After torturing admirers with awful opening acts for an hour and
a half, Spears finally appeared to screaming fans. She entered
through the back of the stage, from within a moving trolley that
represented a bellhop’s cart and went through trap doors
within the staircases. She changed her outfits quite a few times
and was even able to pull out favorites like the nude-colored,
rhinestone-encrusted bodysuit she made infamous in the video for
Another outfit included a large flowing skirt, which Spears wore
while she was sitting on a large swing that was lifted over the
stage. While she was flying over, acrobats on the side maintained
their balance on a tightrope while performing flips and turns
à la Cirque du Soleil.
The most scandalous set, imitating a couple of hotel rooms
complete with four-post beds and bathtubs, allowed for some
provocative interpretations of Spears’s song about
masturbation. Steamy ménage a trois, as well as lesbian and
gay scenes, played on both the screens as the amount of crotch
grabbing on stage reached new levels.
Spears pulled out all the stops to please her audience with
creative dancing, interesting costumes and even twists on favorite
songs. Spears performed her original hits, “Hit Me Baby One
More Time” and “Oops … I Did It Again” in
the hotel’s “lounge,” changing the beats to match
that of a lounge performance.
Spears’s music has matured from the bubblegum pop that
made her popular in 1999. With reggae beats and Jamaica-inspired
sets rampant with yellows, greens and reds, she introduced songs
from her newest release, In the Zone. Her finale even included a
remix of “Me Against the Music,” by British DJ Rishi
Rich, which is infused with bhangra beats.
She mentioned quite a few times that she loves Michigan and to
show her love, even sang one of her songs. The audience, not
expecting actual singing at the show, was thrown off when the
hoarse-voiced Spears broke into a ballad while pretending to play
the piano. It was quite apparent that people were not attending to
hear Spears sing, but instead to watch her perform.
The audience at the event was the most surprising: Very few
parents with small children or pre-teens were present. Most of the
screaming fans were in their late teens or early 20s. These are
girls who grew up singing along with Spears and who now can’t
help but dance when favorites like “I’m A Slave 4
U” are played at parties or clubs. MTV, understanding the
demographics at the show, set up a voter registration drive in the
arena. Many people signed up as they formed lines to get a
commemorative Polaroid in front of a MTV backdrop.
As the audience members admired one of the most prominent pop
idols from their teens, a sense of nostalgia infiltrated the crowd.
Everyone, including the idol, had grown up a little and the show
reflected that in its provocative entertainer and lively