The iTunes Festival came to a close last night after 30 days of incredible live music from an array of the hottest artists of the moment including Robin Thicke, Ellie Goulding, Justin Timberlake and Jessie J. Last night Katy Perry took to the stage to close the festival with support from Icona Pop and Iggy Azalea. As we arrived at the Roundhouse you couldn’t help but spot the gold Katy Perry Prism cabs parked across the road with the release date of her new album Prism plastered on them.
At 7.30pm Icona Pop took to the stage to perform a short set that consisted mostly of pitchy vocals and competing with backing vocals to be heard. They were followed at 8.15pm by much-buzzed rapper Iggy Azalea who experienced a similar problem at times being drowned out by the backing track with much of the crowd struggling to hear what she was actually rapping. People seemed to love her but she’s not really our cup of tea if we’re honest and her set was very similar to the one we saw her perform at Wireless earlier in the year.
Shortly before 9.30pm Katy Perry took to the stage opening her set with new album track Walking On Air which she released online yesterday. Taken from forthcoming album Prism the track is a 90s-influenced dance number and Katy’s performance was nothing short of stunning as she moved around the stage between her dancers as they used sheets to surround and disguise her. It’s fair to say the show got off to a strong start and Katy didn’t let up once. Following the track she launched into a medley of two of her biggest hits California Gurls and Teenage Dream with the crowd singing so loud that Katy let them do some of the singing on the choruses.
I Kissed A Girl was given a rockier edge and was one of the most raucously received songs of the evening. To think that the critics wrote her off as a one-hit wonder when that single topped the charts and look at her now, one of the biggest stars in the world. The urban-influenced Dark Horse, another track from Prism that has been used as a buzz single, was next up and the hard beat actually sounded better in a live environment.
The punchy pop of Part Of Me followed next and it’s still one of our favourite Katy songs. She performed tight choreography throughout the song, and indeed her set, with the audience lapping up every moment of her pop magic. Once the crowd settled down again, Katy introduced writer/producer Greg Wells to the stage to perform another new track, By The Grace Of God. The gentle autobiographical track was a rare moment of genuine emotion from Katy and talks about her battles following the breakdown of her marriage. The track sounded great and was a real showcase for Katy’s vocal ability. Sticking with the slower tracks she moved on to Wide Awake, another of our favourites, interacting with the audience as she sang it.
For the finale Katy performed the double-whammy of Firework, which has become one of her signature tunes, and current single Roar. Firework turned into a huge singalong with the audience and it truly is one of the finest pop songs of recent memory with its inspiring message and soaring chorus. For Roar Katy adapted her recent MTV VMA performance skipping rope on stage, punching through her choreography and whipping the audience into a frenzy.
Sadly the show came to an end after that leaving us, and the rest of the audience, wishing we had her for just that bit longer. The set was polished and fast feeling like it whizzed by. We loved every moment and think Katy is one of the brightest pop performers in the industry. She doesn’t need the gimmicks and shock tactics of contemporaries such as Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga. Her talent speaks for itself and she’s finding success by doing things her own way. Katy doesn’t get the credit she deserves as a live performer but no-one can deny how good she was last night both performance wise and vocally. From the sound of the four songs we heard during the set, Prism is going to be as big if not bigger than Teenage Dream. We can’t wait to hear the album in full and see Katy when she inevitably returns for a full UK tour in support of the record.