Wednesday night’s well-executed — if disjointed — “comeback” show for Britney Spears was indeed a circus: Part literal, part symbolic.
With so many fans rooting for her success, the pressure heated up GM Place.
As did, apparently, the smoke. After a high-energy first act, the show was put on hold as Spears left the stage, refusing to come back until the arena’s air was cleared of cigarette smoke some 20 minutes later.
Once the circus finally resumed, some (though not all) of the crowd’s enthusiasm returned a few songs later during Boys, which Spears performed from the back of a motorcycle.
But both the audience and the singer’s energy lagged as the show continued.
Spears’ bubblegum hits Baby One More Time, Toxic and I’m a Slave 4 U blended with the grotesque, including a video montage over a Marilyn Manson track.
With several sold-out dates and a new album, the four-act show aimed high to announce a return to pop form after many well-publicized blowouts, from rehab to umbrella attacks to awards-show meltdowns.
Given these past circumstances, her early tracks now seem almost nostalgic.
But while acrobats, fence-jugglers, martial arts and fireworks made for spectacle, the performance never fully recovered.
The encore ended with her latest hit, Womanizer, but fans Mitch McGraw and Sean Gregor, who arrived at the show painted in clown faces, both felt let down.
“I think it’s really unfortunate, because I respected and felt bad for Britney, but I think her stopping the concert because of what a few people were doing in the very front row was pretty bad,” said McGraw.
“(The lag) killed the energy, and I didn’t know how she was going to recover,” Gregor added.
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