Katy Perry’s ‘Play’ Las Vegas Residency: Review

“Play” time has begun in Las Vegas.

On Wednesday night, Katy Perry launched her long-awaited stay in Las Vegas at the Resorts World Theater. The show aptly titled “Play” is the epitome of Perry, who indulged in the emotional, the lavish, the quirky, the psychedelic and even the cheesy in 95 minutes.

The concert – which the artist refers to as “Perry Playland” – turned into a giant song that seemed to be exactly what she had in mind. Just a day before the opening night, Perry posted a video of the setlist so fans could prepare and freshen up on the lyrics.

“Perry Playland,” she said, is “Where you can come and sing along to so many of your favorite songs!”

During the opening night, Perry fulfilled that promise. The California-born singer dug up tracks from as early as 2008, such as “Hot n Cold” and “Waking Up in Vegas”, but also made the live debut for “When I’m Gone”, a new song with Alesso that became released a few hours before she went on stage. She also covered Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” – no small feat.

Still, the music was only part of the show. Since it’s Katy Perry, the production was bigger than life.

At times, “Play” felt a lot like an ode to Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Pee-wee Herman’s children’s program that ran Saturday morning from 1986 to 1990. Like that series, “Play” included oversized talking furniture. A set of pieces for “Chained to the Rhythm” featured a dancing alarm clock that choreographed movements along with a sock puppet and two rhythmic walkie-talkies. (The infamous Left Shark and Right Shark from Perry’s 2015 Super Bowl Halftime Show did not show up, but was referenced in several animated sequences.) Another scene included a massive bathroom with a colossal bathtub, a mammoth soap bar and, yep, a toilet that spoke.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry’s stay in Las Vegas included oversized set pieces, like a toilet that spoke.

Kevin Mazur / GettyImages

Other surroundings were less childish and more luxurious. An extensive staircase filled the stage towards the end of the show during “Teenage Dream”.

Among the audience, fans paid tribute to the singer by recreating some of her most iconic music video looks. Most in the amount of 5,000 also wore masks to help combat the spread of the furious Omicron variant. Perry encouraged the masks and even incorporated the safety recommendation into the show, and at one point spoke in favor of an oversized mask – which she called “Mr. Maskie.”

“You’ve really helped us this year,” Perry said. As the props left the stage, she took a subtle shot at anti-masks and said, “Give applause to Mr. Maskie – especially if you believe in him.”

Then Perry got an appropriate performance of “Lost,” a searching ballad from her 2008 major-label debut. “It’s the epitome of how some of you might feel throughout this pandemic,” she said.

Earlier in the night, Perry acknowledged fans for venturing into the theater during the Covid era.

“It’s been a couple of really wild years, hasn’t it?” she said. “I do not know what next year brings, do you? You really rolled the dice tonight with me, and I appreciate that.”

Perry is the second artist to perform at the newly opened Resorts World Theater, after Carrie Underwood, who christened the venue earlier this month. Perry’s “Play” residency runs until mid-January and returns for more shows in March.

Set list:

1. “AND”
2. “chained to the rhythm”
“Dark Horse”
4. “It’s not the end of the world”
5. “California Gurls”
6. “Hot N ‘Cold” / “Last Friday Night”
7. “Waking up in Vegas”
8. “Good appetite”
9. “Margueritter”
10. “I kissed a girl”
11. “Lost” / “Part of Me” / “Wide Awake”
12. “Swish Swish”
13. “When I’m Gone” / “Walking On Air!”
14. “Never really over”
15. “Teenage Dream”
16. “Smile”
17. “Roar”
18. “Greatest Love Of All” (Whitney Houston-cover)
19. “Fireworks”

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