LAS VEGAS — One down, 99 (or so) to go.
Singing -- well, sort of -- for what appeared to be a full house at the 4,600-seat Axis Theater, Spears led a show, called "Piece of Me," that married the elaborate razzle-dazzle of old-school Las Vegas entertainment with the jackhammering beats of today's electronic dance music. It was loud, it was colorful, it was over in less than 90 minutes.
Pop & Hiss will have a full a review of the show soon, but until then here are five instant reactions.
—Britney still has friends in high places. On Friday stars including
—She was wearing a microphone, though it wasn't clear she was using it. Spears' manager and a casino executive have both insisted that "Piece of Me" features live vocals, but Friday the singer appeared to be lip-syncing for the majority of her performance. That went for high-energy dance numbers such as "Womanizer" as well as slower-paced ballads like "Perfume," for which Spears took a seat onstage.
—The show has plenty to distract you from the vocal question. With various
—Her costume trunk must weigh a ton. The singer opened Friday's show in a version of the bedazzled bodysuit she famously wore in the "Toxic" video, but that was just the first in a series of equally sparkly outfits. Other looks included a bra-and-fedora get-up for "Me Against the Music," a raver's leotard for "Scream & Shout" and, in the beautiful-creepy "Everytime," a flowing white gown affixed with gigantic angel wings.
—Like many stars, she may not have the best taste in her own music. "Piece of Me" hits most of the high points in Spears' songbook, including the defiant title track, "I'm a Slave 4 U" and her breakout 1998 smash "… Baby One More Time," which she mashed up here with its 2000 sequel, "Oops! … I Did It Again." (Beyond "Perfume," the only other song Spears played from last month's so-so "Britney Jean" album was its thumping lead single, "Work Bitch.") Yet the show also reaches back for a handful of duds -- "Boys," "3," "Do Somethin'" -- any of which might have been replaced with superior cuts from her recent albums. There's no "Radar" here, no "Hold It Against Me," and, perhaps most tragically, no "If U Seek Amy," if u can believe it.