This is the last review I thought I would ever be typing out, but here I am ready to post about what I experienced last night when I traveled to Columbus to see a different type of circus, featuring Britney Spears.
Before I even begin telling you of all my adventures last night, I might as well give some history on to how a ticket came into my hands for a show like this. As most of you may know I tend to keep with the punk rock and metal shows but I never will pass up the opportunity for a good time, even if it is an almost sold out show with thousands of screaming tweens. I wrote a short blog about it with more details but in a nutshell an old friend found himself with an extra ticket and invited me. There was no way I was going to pass this up.
The drive to Columbus was fine until I drove past Grandpa’s Cheese Barn in Ashland, OH and then it just started pouring. From there it was limited visibility and a-hole drivers all around me almost causing multiple accidents. I finally made it to downtown Columbus where my pal was staying at a nice hotel and after getting lost in the hotel parking garage decided to venture down High Street and see what record stores were still around before heading to the show. After a nice meal at Skully’s and some success at finding some good records it was time to head to the Value City Arena, also commonly referred to as The Schottenstein Center.
Having never been to the Value City Arena I had no idea where to park and we wasted time stuck in traffic and pulling illegal u-turns all over the premises finally finding a legal place to park. I was pissed that it took so long to find a parking space that I originally drove past the first time but for $3 I was not complaining.
Mass crowds of folk, mostly female, were flocking to the arena so we jumped in the mad dash to get there and found our seats in no time. Sitting in our seats we laughed that we were actually about to see a pop show and laughed even harder at the people who sat near us just stared at us perhaps asking themselves if we were lost.
The stage was located in the center of the arena and people who paid the big bucks got to sit in what looked like giant chairs while others crowded in a general admission area. We were lucky enough to sit in the front row of section 218 where there were no real distractions in front of us.
A large curtain hid the center stage and soon arose featuring pop girl group the Pussycat Dolls who were all situated on a steel staircase of sorts. I lost my hearing for a short second from the welcoming applause and screams. Not familiar with their material at all the only song I picked out was the ever popular “Don’t Cha”. Along their 45 minute set they also played “Jai Ho!”, a song originally written for the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire that later was rerecorded by The Pussycat Dolls with English lyrics. The five beautiful clad women danced all over the stage to an adoring crowd. Their dance moves were suggestive, their outfits were small, and the crowd loved them.
After the Pussycat Dolls finished their set stagehands quickly worked and dismantled the steel stair case of sorts and removed it from the stage. The giant curtain dropped again where a 360 degree monitor soon emerged that would be a focal point for all types of visuals for the evening. The theme for the evening was a circus inspired performance so seeing the three section stage was appropriate for what was about to come.
Before the main event, the Big Apple Circus took the stage with various entertaining performances including a muscleman who twirled what looked like a section of fence around and around and tossed it about like it was metal pizza dough. That same performer then grabbed a giant cube made out of steel bars and balanced it on his palm and spun it to the crowds enjoyment. I was not as thrilled and of course made a joke to my pal about how all the guy ever wanted to do in life was spin a giant cube in front of thousands and how today was his day.
Other performers included a very flexible girl who was more of a human pretzel, clowns, hula hoops, people being thrown in the air, and martial artists who wooed the crown with their shiny weapons. I have to admit it was pretty entertaining.
Once everyone cleared the stage the lights dimmed and a very interesting video played on the 360 degree monitor with a cross dressing queen providing a rather disturbing introduction for the rest of the evening. The crowd erupted in excitement through the intro and not too far after the sexy ringmaster, Britney Spears, was lowered down from the 360 degree monitor as her performers met her on stage. It was at that moment it struck me that I was actually at this show.
At the beginning of their performance I found myself more interested in the stage set up itself over the performance. There were elevator like trap doors that would allow access to the stage without any of the performers leaving the center of the venue. It was a show in itself just watching how everyone worked together to make the stage work.
Again I am not a pop music fan so I did not know a lot of the songs that were being performed but I did know that there was a ton of choreographing going on for the two plus hours that the show went on. There was a lot of hard work going on during the set.
One point during the evening had me scratching my head at was when the 360 degree monitor was lowered and Marilyn Manson‘s version of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These)” started playing as videos of Britney Spears footage was displayed. It was clear that the video was being played so everyone could take a breather. I still could not believe that a Marilyn Manson song, even if it was an Euythmics track, was playing at high levels to the crowd.
The show started to get a little more entertaining, performance wise, after the quick break with darker skits and more daring stunts and dances, but soon ventured back to sexy cop Britney Spears and a whole slew of different types of dancing. At one time gangster looking dudes rode in on low rider bicycles and surrounded the star of the night. Once again I could not help but to comment to my comrade how I felt I was witnessing an Eminem ice capades.
As far as song titles go, I really did not recognize a lot of them. “Womanizer” was one song I recognized towards the end of the night as well as a remixed version of “Baby One More Time”. Other then that if you were to pay me for each song I could tell you that was played that night I would not be earning much money.
It was clear that the night was all about lip-singing, but I did not let that bother me at all, after all I did attend a Britney Spears concert. The 360 degree monitor that showed all of the strange footage over the performance as well as ads for Virgin Mobile and Candies makeup never once showed live shots from the evening. I felt bad for the people who sat all the way in the higher section of the arena seeing how I was in the middle section and had a hard time seeing the show myself. These tickets were not cheap by any means and you would think that they would at least cater to the nose bleed sections.
The dancing was mostly handled by Britney Spears’ entourage of performers and to me it looked like most of the time Britney Spears was either being pushed around on various carts, being picked up by hanging men, or resting on furniture props as she moved her lips to the music. I expected more on her behalf. Still, it was a performance I was looking for when I agreed to go and not a full fetched music showdown. I was not even phased towards the end of the show when two guys pretended to play guitars as women showered them with sparks from what looked like metal sanders. It was a performance, a show, nothing to be taken seriously.
Britney Spears was not much of a crowd participation person except for a quick thank you to the crowd who spent way too much money on tickets to see her and even more money on merchendise. I think she spoke to the crowd once, but that one time was good enough for the packed house of fans.
My ears still ring from the loudness of the show, mostly from the screaming fans. It was clear that the fans who showed up that night were excited to be there and had a great time dancing and singing about. Then there was me…
Honestly, I did have a great time though and I never in my life thought I would say that I went to a Britney Spears concert, and I had fun. Stranger things have happened…
Here are some quality photos taken with my trusty iPhone. You can not see anything…
One thought on “Britney Spears w/ The Pussycat Dolls – Value City Arena – Columbus, OH – 04/30/2009 – Concert Review”
Just the idea of you writing a review for Brit was entertaining, no matter the actual content. So, it sounds as though this was a typical pop show – where they rip-off others and put forth a lazy, cookie-cutter performance. The whole Circus theme reminds me of Jim Rose (duh), and I thought the Manson track was fitting, but not. I guess it makes me think of the old days, where we used the word ‘poseur’ a lot – you know, when someone was somebody other than who they thought they were, or wanted to be. And that to me, is Pop in a nutshell.