REVIEW: Britney Spears @ The O2 – 24 August 2018 by Patrick Downes
So, having seen every major music star from the last 20 years or so, only a few were left to see, and on Friday night at the O2 in London, I finally saw Britney Spears.
Fair to say, in the 18 years since ‘Baby One More Time,’ she’s covered more press inches than most people do in a lifetime. From that short marriage, to her meltdown, and now bringing her “Piece of Me” Vegas show to the O2 and other arenas around the UK.
What to expect? Didn’t really have any expectations to be honest. Had read a little bit about her “live” performances but I thought to experience it for myself.
Well, okay. Let’s not avoid talking about the elephant in the room here – she lip synced the entire gig. Now for some that would be a huge no no. It’s a case of seeing someone “dial in” their performance. It’d be like David Guetta or Calvin Harris just having an USB stick and pressing play. But then when you see everything put together – the dancing (and not just Britney, I’m talking her backing dancers) and the performance didn’t feel like it was dialled in. The choreography and visuals even from my position in the back corner of the O2 (pretty much watching the concert on the screen), they were good – and the sound mix too. I think some venues struggle with sound – the O2 doesn’t.
So she mimed. To me and the other 17,000 people within the O2 that night, it didn’t matter. What mattered was we partied, sung, danced (of sorts for some of us), and had an amazing night. Where else in London on a Friday night could you witness a man being walked across the stage of the O2 with a dog lead, or a woman sounding everso like Dick van Dyk in Mary Poppins (there’s the other elephant in the room – Britney’s “British” accent that she spoke with). If there was one piece of advice I’d give, it would be to be more interactive with your crowd. Leaving the audience participation till the last quarter of the night was a bit flat, maybe earlier, and maybe more of it. Yes, Britney I know you mime because the dance routines are quite busy, but surely a little appreciation of the people who came and who’ve made your life the way it is?
Special mention to Pitbull, her support act. You forget how many songs he’s been part of. How many bangers has Mr 305 had? Well, quite a few (NB. Mr 305? Because that’s the area code of Miami he’s from – it’d be like me calling myself Mr 01443 – good, but not as catchy). Without a doubt it was a masterstroke having him open for Britney – although it felt like I was watching a 1970s act from Vegas with him having showgirls as dancers. Too much? Yes, him on his own just performing was amazing. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
Overall Britney’s setlist showcased just how many hits she’s had. Granted giving a few toilet breaks of the newer material, but overall, if you’re a Britney fan, she is someone you do need to see live (using that word live is ironic I know). If you’re not so much a fan, then probably it’s not for you. I’ve saw Madonna live in 2006 on the Confessions tour, she too mimed a little, Britney may have mimed it all, but for sheer performance, you’d be hard pressed to find someone better than Miss Spears.
Break The Ice/Piece Of Me
… Baby One More Time/ Oops! I Did It Again
Me Against The Music
Clumsy/Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortes)
Scream and Shout
Do You Wanna Come Over?
Work It/Get Ur Freak On/ WTF
I’m A Slave 4 U
If U Seek Amy
Breathe On Me
Stronger/(You Drive Me) Crazy
Till The World Ends
Review: Patrick Downes