It’s Britney Bitch!…And Britney indeed it was.
Friday, July 13th saw the second consecutive night that the MGM National Harbor played host to the legendary Ms. Britney Spears and her “Piece of Me” Tour, which if you guessed right, is a traveling version of her highly successful Las Vegas residency show.
It’s been seven years since the last time that I had the opportunity to witness this pop goddess live in concert, for what was 2011’s Femme Fatale Tour, and didn’t have the chance to make it out to Vegas to see her show at Planet Hollywood, so I was rather interested in seeing what was in store.
With the anticipation level in the air rising to 500% and the Britney Army showing up full force (dressed in some of her more noteworthy costumes from over the years), everyone seemingly wanted a piece of her. At 8:10 PM, the venue lights dimmed down and the crowd immediately jumped on their feet. Smoke filled the stage and a crew of approximately 14 dancers marched out to perform a military styled dance routine to help create a build up, and then at the climax over on stage left, Britney was accompanied by two male dancers. Dressed in a two piece black and silver body suit, covered by a floor length green velvet robe, kicked right into her high energy dance number “Work B**ch“. Her opening set was compiled of songs that reaffirmed her “I am woman, hear me roar” stance, with such tracks as “Womanizer“, and “Piece of Me“.
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Her next selection of songs were pretty much dedicated to her Day 1 fans who have moved right along life’s yellow brick road with Spears over the past 20 years since her career skyrocketed. “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!…I Did It Again” temporarily had The Theater feeling more like 1998 than 2008, the only difference is that a bulk of the crowd was sipping on alcoholic beverages instead of Surge soda.
While this may be considered an extension of her residency, she clearly decided to leave some of the Vegas spectacle back in the desert, as the show was scaled down compared to the former. As a matter of fact, this was the most stripped down concert that Spears has ever performed! Is that necessarily a bad thing…not really. While we all love to visually consume big budget sets, moving parts, fire, water and the like, the touring arm of “Piece of Me” allowed for more focus on the reason why most people fell in love with Brit Brit in the first place, her performance itself.
Speaking of her performance, she was in top performance shape and moving right through the show, but it was obvious that at times Britney seemed a bit nervous in the way that some of her moves were executed. Maybe it was because she’s been on a seven month hiatus and just getting back into the groove as this is the beginning of the tour, something that is normal for any artist who is hitting the road for the first time in a while.
After a video interlude which highlighted her most iconic music videos played on the massive LED wall, it was now time for my personal favorite segment of her show, where she recreated scenes from her 2004 music video “Me Against The Music“, complete with broken wall props. MATM has always been a modern day dance tune that made you move your body, whether you wanted to or not, and with its’ segue into “Gimme More“, the bass just continued to permeate my soul. The Washington DC shows also served as the grounds for never before seen material. This would be the first that that Britney had ever performed her track “Clumsy“, which was lifted off of her 2016 “Glory” album.
Telling from the setlist alone, this was Spears’ nod to a greatest hits show (including a few cuts from her first two albums that she had snubbed in concert in more recent years…”Crazy” and “Stronger“) but if anyone had the intentions of going to the concert to hear her songs in their original form, sorry to disappoint you, but many of the tracks had been remixed, most notably “Boys“, which carried more of an 80’s sound meshed with techno vibe and her coming of age signature song “I’m a Slave 4 U“, that has now been remixed with The Migos’ “Walk It Talk It“.
Granted this was your typical pop show, all things weren’t bubble gum kisses and lollipop fields when things took a turn for a bit of a more adult theme. “Freakshow” touted the line of BDSM boudoir as a lucky participant from the audience named Scott was invited on stage to dance with Brit, while she acted as his dominatrix, “Breathe On Me” featured all of the women on stage being as sexy as can be, and “Touch Of My Hand” allowed Spears to delve into the thoughts of self pleasure, but with two male dancers guiding caressing her from one end of the stage to the other.
“Toxic” gave more of a tribal feel, but what was obviously missing was the ginormous tree structure used out in Vegas, where Britney used this to bungee off of and show her best aerial acrobatic skills. She decided to end the concert with “Till The World Ends“, who’s lyrics states “keep on dancing till the World ends”, and albeit only the show was ending, her fans danced the whole way out into the lobby.
Although the show was a solid offering, there would have been a few things that I would have liked tweaked, mainly her setlist. She’s got SO many hits that translate extremely well live (“Radar“, “Overprotected Darkchild Remix” and “Get Naked“) but neglected to perform them. This would have taken my “liking” of the show to a “loving” of the performance. Nonetheless, I think it’s safe to say that we are all happy to see Britney allowed to travel the globe again, instead of being confined to only performing in Vegas.