Well, technically it wasn’t Katy Perry personally, but her stage setup — for a private show at the Roseland Ballroom to augur the release of Windows Phone 7 — that blew that confetti. Still, there we were, in the venue’s balcony drinking a beer paid for by Microsoft, when Perry launched into “Hot N Cold,” twin confetti cannons went off, and a lonely strip of pink paper floated slowly into our cup. And that seemed about right.
It was just one element of a steely, ruthlessly executed bubble-gum pop act. Also of note: Perry appeared by popping out of a giant cake; she wore a skintight cupcake dress with a prominent décolletage; at one point she was bouncing up and down to the music while holding her boobs down; the entire set was lifted from the “California Gurls” video, with giant lollipops for stage props; mid-songs, a dude came out to broom the confetti away; and when Perry strapped on an acoustic guitar for “Ur So Gay,” she was actually playing it. Her stage banter was impeccably calculated as well, offering just the right touch of famous-person irreverence: She told the crowd she had flown in from Madrid that morning, and she pronounced Madrid like she was doing an Antonia Banderas impersonation; later, she intro’d her party song “Last Friday Night” by saying it was inspired by a night of too much “Jäger and wine and lemondrops.” During the song, a slideshow of drunken Facebook photos scrolled by, assumedly of Perry’s friends. Nothing too risqué, of course.
By the end of the potent set — this chick’s got jams! — the crowd had been treated to smoke-machine clouds, dance routines from scantily clad ladies, pitch-perfect cock-rock gestures from Perry’s model-y looking lead guitarist, and, to shut things down, the unleashing of preposterously large beach balls amid even more confetti (Perry: “Those are some big-ass balls.”) The best part, though, came before Perry sang “E.T.,” a non-single cut from Teenage Dream. She explained it was about “falling in love with a foreigner,” then basically apologized for it not being as instantly recognizable or massively popular as the rest of her set: “Don’t worry, we’ll get to those.” Katy Perry: consummate pop-music professional.