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March 25, 2009

Review: Britney Spears at the Verizon Center last night

britney spearsMy ears were ringing before the show even started.

So many teens, pre-teens, post-teens -- all wailing like banshees for Britney Spears at Washington's Verizon Center last night.

Though piercingly painful, the crowd's gleeful shrieks for Brit-Brit only added to the excitement. And what a show it was.

Yes, Britney lip-synced the whole thing. But let's be honest -- nobody was there to hear her sing.

I'll bet nobody cared. All that crowd wanted was to be dazzled, and Britney didn't let them down. The sheer spectacle of the whole thing was stunning.

Instead of a stage, there were three circular performance areas -- modeled after a three-ring circus. The tour is in support of Britney's new album, Circus, and the show is kind of like a wicked, hedonistic night under the Big Top ...

Before Britney hit the stage, we were treated to a video in which celebrity gossip queen Perez Hilton gushed about Britney's comeback. He was dressed like a screwy Victorian monarch, and gleefully gnawed on a scepter topped with a baby doll's head after giving his introduction. Weird.

For the first song -- the title track from Circus -- Britney descended from the ceiling in black boots and a red ringmaster's jacket. Brit seemed stiff and wooden for most of the track, but warmed up after a few minutes.

britney spearsOver the course of the night, Britney seemed to make an entrance from every angle. She popped up from the floor, dropped down from overhead and, once, even hopped on a suspended human platform made from two interlocked contortionists and rode it up to the rafters.

All the while, a posse of dancers, contortionists and circus performers darted around the bubbly popstress. Fog rolled across the circular stage, sparks shot down from the ceiling and camera flashes flickered from the audience like strobe lights. At times, it was almost too much.

By the way, if you're planning on seeing this tour and haven't bought your tickets yet, try and get seats near the center of the venue. Britney tended to play to the audience nearest the middle ring.

No, there weren't any wardrobe malfunctions. But Britney did have a new getup for each song. She donned Middle Eastern garb for "Me Against the Music," a song she recorded with Madonna, and came out dressed as a police officer for the final song, "Womanizer."

Britney drew heavily from her Circus and Blackout albums for the set, and occasionally played a hit from years past. A bumping rendition of "... Baby One More Time" was a show-stopper, and would have made a better encore than "Womanizer." But now I'm being nit-picky.

This is Britney's first tour in about five years, and she's is eager to reestablish herself as one of the world's biggest female entertainers. If last night's show was any indication, Britney is well on her way.

Welcome back, Brit.

(Top, AP photo. Bottom, handout photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:08 AM | | Comments (34)
Categories: Local music



I was there last night and I couldn't agree more with your review. This is my 5th Britney concert and they just keep getting better and better! I am so happy she is back!

Ps.. I believe she did actually sing one song... which was Everytime.. Probably since it was the only song she wasnt dancing to!

wow, what an awful assignment. i wouldn't go see this if i was being paid to.
sounds like complete crap.

dude! cn U right abut teh Jonas Bros? Thy r SO HT!!!1!!

What a WONDERFUL article you have written about our "Beloved American Pop Star". I too went to 2 concerts and Britney was amazing! All the fans were upbeat and it was a sheer excitement filled 2 hours~ I had the time of my life!! EXCELLENT ARTICLE~ ACCURATE JOURNALISM~ A real treat when it comes to Britney coverage!!!!!!!!

Sam, what the hell are you doing reviewing a Britney Spears show?

Wow, what a good review!!! How much a review like this was needed for Britney!!! I agree 100% in what Sam Sessa says in here and I thank for giving such a positive vibe!!! I hope BRITNEY SPEARS stays for years, healthy and flamant as she is!!! We love her, we need her exactly like she is.

Let me get this. All that money for tickets and she lip-synched? Give me a break. In this economy, anyone who paid money to watch someone lip-synch ought to have their head examined.

Wooderson: That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.

I am insanely jealous you got to see Britney, and that you can claim it was so you could cover it for the blog.

How MUCH did they pay you to go to this concert...even better - how much did they pay you to sound like you actually enjoyed it? yikes.

Why does she bother with the headset microphone? The problem I have with these type of shows is that they are billed as concerts. My idea of a concert is someone either playing instruments or singing live. If they were billed as performances or interpretations of songs, that would make more sense. It seems like it was a great show, but not exactly a concert.

Dude, who's Chris Sligh?

Beautiful Britney is of course,amazing.
However this is no comeback because
she never was away.
Also her last tour was in 2007,
not 5 years ago.

Sam -

You've obviously missed the point of Ms. Spears performance. It is obviously alluding to Max Ophüls' film "Lola Montès" the story of Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, also known as Lola Montez. The parallels are hard to miss. Justin Timberlake is obviously Franz Liszt and Kevin Federline is Ludwig of Bavaria.

The whole experience is a comment on the end of modernity. Ms. Spears is the rightful heir to Isadora Duncan.

Jesus Mother F#$king Christ!!!

Her "music" is completely over-synthed to the point where you can not hear a note of real tone in her voice, and that's on the CD. That is not singing.

Now you tell me that she lip-synced her lyrics over her crap-a$$ backing "music".

This was not a concert. If this is a concert, then I'm going on tour as an air guitar virtuoso?

Who opened for her? The Stones?

What? This is very strange.

It's the end of the world as we know it

Ok, lots of comments to address here since I've been away from my desk for a bit.

FlippityJane and JE -- actually, I paid almost $150 a ticket to see her. The Sun will normally pay for a ticket (or the artist will comp us a ticket) but Britney made everyone pay. Since the Sun wouldn't cover it, I paid out of pocket for these tickets, because my fiancee, Amie, is a huge Britney Spears fan. The only reason I wrote the review is because I wanted to.

Grundy -- Though Britney was lip-syncing, there was a live band. I was pretty impressed, actually, that they could reproduce such thick, layered productions so well in a live setting.

21224 -- Exactly.

JTK -- Good lord! I thought we'd lost you. Welcome back!

The Blob -- How so?

Perhaps I'm just old school but if I paid nearly 100 bucks for a concert ticket then I better hear some live singing. Save the lip syncing for the music videos. Anyhow, welcome back Britney!

Honestly I was sort of just being snarky but a bit less straight out obnoxious than some of the other comments here. It does seem odd that this mega-corporate top forty teeny-bopper "musical" three ring circus taking place in another city gets space here. I haven't been a Midnight Sun reader for all that long, but the usually smart, interesting, Balti-centric content and comments I've seen thus far ("Tim Lumber" or whatever that was notwithstanding) did not prepare me for this post. I don't mean to denigrate folks who enjoy Britney Spears (though I can't take it, myself), it just seemed out of place. But hey, it's your blog, it's what you did last night, and here we all are discussing (or just dissing) it, so carry on, godspeed and good luck, and I'll continue reading. Cheers!

Wow! I've been in meetings for 4 hrs and missed the excitement as it unfolded. Have to admit, I never thought I'd see a BS (sorry, but it fits) review on this blog.

Ready to gag over the $150 ticket price. Makes the $125 I paid for the last, "final" Stones tour look reasonable. At least those boys can play instruments and Mick sang live.

Dare I make the connection? Circus themed CD/costumes/set and P.T. Barnum's famous quote about a certain type of person being born every minute.

Sam - I was going to defect to this other, NEW Baltimore nightlife blog in an attempt to infiltrate and subvert their attempts. But I am horrendously lazy.

But I have the interwebs back again and nothing shall stop me from winning some free swag from your desk now.

Yawn. Wake me when you review a Chris Sligh concert.

Speaking of the ol' Slighster, it seems he's going to play a show at the Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia on April 25. (Thanks for teaching me how to use Google, GDA!!!). I guess he's opening up for Natalie Grant, who may or may not be Amy's sister.

Midnight Sun field trip anyone?

ooooo, BA, we could start a "WHO IS CHRIS SLIGH" chant.

thoughts, everyone?

hee hee.

Nobody should ever make fun of me again for going to Morrissey concerts.

omfg I can't believe I'm about to type this but I wish I could come back from Jamaica a day early to see Sir Slighsalot

More pearls for the mavens of pop culture.

"Rascal Flatts Thinks Big With "Goodbye"

March 25, 2009 — Rascal Flatts made a huge impact with "Here Comes Goodbye," the first single from the forthcoming Unstoppable album.

Written by former "American Idol" contestant Chris Sligh*, the song is ranked at No. 7 on the USA Today Mediabase country singles chart. The band is not surprised at all by its success; they knew it was significant right from the moment they heard it...."


*actually co-written with Clint Lagerberg

Rascal Flatts chooses "Here Comes Goodbye", Chris Sligh Benefit Concert for Heaven's Loft:
At least he actually sings unlike the curvaceous performing seal.

Rascal Flatts - Here Comes Goodbye - (HD) Official Music Video:

Their story line doesn't exactually match the lyrics

" Since the Sun wouldn't cover it, I paid out of pocket for these tickets"

sam, the sun may be on to something

Courtney B.

I go one Phineas T. Barnum quote better, “Every crowd has a silver lining.”

Did the evening end on bartime, hopefully

'It is obviously alluding to Max Ophüls' film "Lola Montès"'

And that guy she was married to for abut 12 hours is Oskar Werner?

britney is awesome. it was an amazing show. and i think the fact that she can sell out places like verizon center when 1) she hasnt toured in so long 2) tickets cost that much, and 3) everyone knows she is going to lip synch, speaks volumes for how much her fans love her. stop all the hating!

yes britney is awesome in that momma's little piggy bank can it together to get her a** out on the road and make her more money. who's minding the kids?

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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