BY DAN GARCIA
Britney Spears is smack-dab in the middle of her huge comeback. The international pop icon just released her new album, Glory, on RCA Records, which marks her first album since her 2013, Britney Jean. Spears also made headlines this past weekend as she returned to the MTV Video Music Awards, for her first VMA performance in 10 years, joining rapper G-Eazy for a performance of their new hit collaboration, ‘Make Me…’. Whether you hear her on the radio, buy her new LP on shelves, or even catch her lovable personality shine on James Corden’s newest “Carpool Karaoke” series, Britney is back.
However fans should not soon forget that even in the middle of her big comeback, there exists a place (a city to be more specific) where music fans have been able to return to that 1998-2005 era where Britney Spears was in a tier of her own when it comes to elite names in pop music. That place of course is the “City of Sin”, Las Vegas, Nevada, where Britney Spears has hosted her Vegas residency, Britney: Piece of Me, since December of 2013. And this past week I went to see the critically acclaimed and award winning show for myself, to see if Piece of Me is still the “best show in Las Vegas”.
While I am no Las Vegas expert, I spend the majority of my nights at different shows, venues, festivals and everything music related. From the photo pit at Coachella to an intimate performance at some of Chicago’s most historic venues, whether it’s Kanye West, Taylor Swift or anyone in-between, I have seen a lot and I can’t name one other show that can be compared to Britney’s show at Planet Hollywood. You go into the night, about to see one of the biggest names in music who would need a triple LP just to put together a “Greatest Hits” album, and you expect a concert, yet you get a performance. While the two are often used interchangeably, they are subtly different in many ways.
Britney doesn’t just sing her biggest songs on stage (to be honest, she doesn’t truly sing them at all, but we will get back to that later), rather she performs her entire career. Separated into seven different acts, Spears performs her mega hits among her talented cast of backup dancers with entertaining stage changes and differing themes throughout the night. From her opening performance of ‘Work Bitch’ to her closing performance of ‘Till the World Ends’, everything about the show is well done and more than entertaining.
And what’s most impressive is how Spears gives her all, much more than just a piece of herself, to the live show. This is not only the show’s blessing, but its curse as well. If people were to make one complaint about the show (and her recent VMA performance), it’s the use of Spear’s prerecorded vocals throughout the performance. But if anyone expects Britney Spears (or literally anyone) to dance and perform to the extent she does, to swing on trees while performing ‘Toxic’, to grind and whip her hair to ‘I Love Rock n Roll’, all while singing live, than your expectations are far too high and more than realistic. If I went to a Drake or Adele concert and was met with lip synching, I would certainly be disappointed, but it’s not the case here. Using her prerecorded vocals doesn’t take away from the show, and their use actually adds to the show’s value by giving Spears free reign to truly perform.
Highlights the night, aside from pre-show people watching and checking out some historic Britney outfits in the show’s lobby, are some of the performance’s more entertaining and theatric interludes, and of course Britney’s performances of ‘Everytime’, ‘…Baby One More Time’, ‘Crazy’, ‘Toxic’, her new single ‘Make Me…’ and many more. Her recent comeback is proof that Britney has still got it, but her Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood with its huge catalog of hits is proof that Britney never lost it. Stealing the crown from Celine Dion just a couple years ago, Britney Spears still reigns as the Queen of Las Vegas.