If U Seek Britney: Spears and Minaj put on a pop spectacle

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Britney Spears” “Femme Fatale” has all the makings of a mega pop
spectacle, but the one thing that seems to be missing —at least at Monday’s show at the TD Garden — is Spears herself.

Sure, she was there in person, but she just didn’t seem to be there in
spirit. And maybe the reason that this was so noticeable is that she
surrounded herself with so many arena show trappings that they
just seemed like an effort to distract from the fact that Britney herself was going through the motions.

All around her, breakdancers in neon were headspinning, duet partners
made pre-recorded cameos on the giant video screen, and a shirtless hunk did gravity-defying gymnastics beneath her as she stood still on a
rising swing.

For most of the show, Spears just seemed to be phoning it in. Even the thematic thread of her being involved in acts of espionage seemed half-assed.

Sure, she did a lapdance for an enthusiastic fan, and she hit all of her marks, but for a show that is so big, it felt like she was merely a small part of it.

It was hard to tell if she was really singing, as the huge monitors showed that she was at least mouthing the correct words, but not once was there any audible panting within the songs, yet the few times she addressed the crowd she clearly seemed out of breath.

Show opener Nicki Minaj turned in an admirable performance, and it was obvious that she was singing, at least occasionally, because her voice could be heard over the pre-recorded versions of her vocals. Sometimes she opted to not sing, and held out her mic to the crowd, and her studio vocals were audible.

Minaj’s show was ambitious, but it had the feel of a kindergarten play, in that it was definitely awesome, but you couldn’t always tell what was going on. Her alter-egos did battle with each other and had sexy dance offs as she ran up and down the length of the stage.


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