BreatheHeavy Review: Britney Spears’ “Piece Of Me” Dress Rehearsal
All eyes were on Britney Spears Thursday night at the soft opening of her “Piece of Me” show inside the newly renovated Axis theater inside Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. The 4,500 seat-theater was at full-capacity, despite Britney Tweeting followers it was the “last dress rehearsal for friends and family before opening night.”
“Can’t believe the 1st show is almost here!!! #PieceOfMe“
Complete with water works, rings of fire, many wardrobe changes and a setlist full of Britney classics, the latest Vegas resident left the crowd wanting moarrr.
The intro to “Piece Of Me” showed a little girl dreaming of becoming a big star one day – history becomes reality because she is one of the biggest stars of our generation. Suddenly the lights focus on Britney, who’s wearing a sparkly number similar to her 2000 VMA performance. She’s inside an egg-shaped cage for the intro to “Work Bitch,” then escapes to slay the choreography seen in the music video. The crowd went nuts not really for “Work Bitch,” but because it’s Britney, bitch.
Immediately following the “Britney Jean” lead single was “Womanizer,” where 14 backup dancers donned grey body suits and masks. At one point, Britney transformed into Jesusney as her dancers paraded her around in the shape of a cross. #BrightestMorningStar.
Britney told “Piece Of Me” director Baz Halpin she wanted extra cheese, and she serves it on a silver platter for her third song… you guessed it: “3.” She busts out pole-pyramids and a horizontal bar similar to the one seen in the video. Gyrating, air humping, slithering… Peter, Paul and Mary would be very proud.
Britney slows it down a bit, running away for a quick costume change while fans watch Angelney on the giant LED screen behind the stage. The projectors show snow on every wall of the theater while white confetti cascades from the ceiling into the crowd. It’s just enough to change the mood for her next song, “Everytime,” where she’s seen floating in a long white gown and angel wings. Everytime I try to fly…
In recent interviews, Britney’s described “Piece Of Me” as a roller coaster of emotions – obvious in the transition from the haunting ballad to one of the all-time classics, “Baby One More Time…” But there’s a twist – it’s dark, a far cry from the innocent bubble gum version fans are used to. She changes into a goth-like outfit with a short brown wig while the backdrop displays a moon and black ribbons rustling in the wind. The use of fire was a nice touch.
“Baby One More Time”
It made sense to put “Oops!… I Did It Again” straight after.
One of the most entertaining performances of the night was “Me Against The Music.” The choreography was fierce and the use of the wall props was very reminiscent of the iconic music video with Madonna – the audience really got into it.
“Me Against The Music”
Cue the freakouts: Britney performed “Break The Ice” for the first time ever last night! It sounded lovely to hear with the big bass it deserves – I’ll just pretend it’s an ode to BreatheHeavy.
This lead straight into “Gimme More,” which was the rumored finale floating around online for several days. What I appreciated about this performance was the new dance routine and simplicity of it – whereas Femme Fatale was much more of a spectacle.
“Gimme More” & “Break The Ice”
Rounding out the “Blackout” segment of the show was “Piece Of Me,” where Britney’s female dancers backed her up, literally. She falls back into their arms while the song fades out like a robot getting unplugged.
While Britney ran backstage to change into her neon outfit, “Scream & Shout” played for the crowd. The LED backdrop showed new video footage of Will.I.Am ~bringing the action~ while her dancers performed on dual rotating wheels under a black light. I hate to say I was a little relieved he didn’t bust out on stage.
Before performing “Boys,” Britney asked the crowd: “How you feelin?!” Crowd: WOOOOOOO!
“Scream & Shout / Boys
She then took a moment to change pace once more, sitting down to perform “Perfume,” which seemed more like an after-thought than a rehearsed part of the show. My immediate instince was: “‘Alien’ should be there instead.”
“Get Naked” played in the next interlude while Britney changed into her costume for “Slave 4 U.” Surrounding her throne placed center stage was a pool of water hidden under a blanket of fog, that is until Britney reached down and splashed herself and dancers amidst the heavy panting. She sported a black bob-style wig and a black & red belly-baring one-piece. She told the audience afterwards: “I got really wet!…”
Britney then said, “I think I need my girls.” Cue the heavy beat from “Freakshow” and an innocent, unlucky (but very lucky) male audience member. She straps an S&M harness onto the poor fool, has him crawl around on stage and whips his derrière in front of thousands. For playing along, she autographs a shirt on stage for him.
Fans thought the chairs seen in the behind-the-scenes footage from “I Am Britney Jean” was for “Stronger,” but instead it’s used in “Do Somethin.” The dancers form the chairs into different shapes for Britney to walk, sit and stand on while she sings the “Greatest Hits: My Prerogative” single.
Now comes the magic section of the show, reminiscent of the “Circus” era (and my favorite look of the night). Super short, crimped hair and a rockin’ one-piece getup with a backdrop of real pyrotechnics. The esthetics of it all were visually pleasing, but it was her hard dancing to the song that made it really fun to bop along to.
“I Wanna Go” used the mirror gag Britney referred to in her E! documentary, which were really LED screens mimicking the dancers in front of them using pre-recorded choreography. I couldn’t help but think of “Lonely” from the Dream Within A Dream tour, only updated.
Afterwards, Britney performed “Lucky” on a Barnum & Bailey-esque barrel with star-shaped lights projected on every inch of the ceiling and walls.
One of my other favorites of the night came after a quick costume change and the big reveal of the wondrous, three-story-tall tree: “Toxic.” She slowed down the first half of the song, as if it was originally meant to be a ballad, before getting bungeed through a waterfall of rain and busting into the choreography.
Britney traveled up the right side of stairs on-stage for “Stronger” and stayed there til it was time to perform “Crazy…” what fans thought might be the last song of the night. She thanks her dancers for their hard work and gives it up for her live band before shouting “STOP! I can’t hear you!”
“You guys wanna hear one more song?”
“Til The World Ends”
It may have been a dress rehearsal, but Britney brought it and if she made any mistakes – it was unknown to the audience. One thing I have to point out is the lack of live singing, despite her handlers assuring ticket buyers she is singing live. YES, she’s singing, but it’s painfully obvious it’s with major help from playback. Overall, an amazing show full of her best hits and is a great break from reality – a chance for you to forget the drama, the bills, the everyday worries of life and submerge yourself into a concert from a living legend.
If you haven’t already, check out photos from the dance rehearsals
Tonight is the official opening night for the show, including a red carpet, pre-party for media the big show and after party. Stay tuned!
What do you think about this sneak peek of Britney: Piece of Me show?
Do you have a favorite costume or song so far?
For now I’m loving MATM outfit and Everytime one.
I’m fucking in love with Brit and brown wig BOMT and Freakshow costumes and Toxic’s going to be EPIC