It's Britney – One More Time!
Concertgoers scream, applaud – and Tweet – as the pop star launches her comeback tour
Britney Spears descended from the New Orleans Arena ceiling and back into fans’ hearts Tuesday night, restarting her career after years of tabloid tumult with a bump-and-grind performance on a Big Top stage.
“Ahhh Britney!” gushed one concert-goer via a Twitter message posted on Spears’s Web site, which live-blogged the show in words and cell-phone photos.
As the pop star launched her first tour in five years, the 16-song set began with Spears, 27, being lowered from the rafters in a cage and breaking into the single “Circus,” followed by “Piece of Me” and “Radar” with stripper-pole dancing.
“Oh my god, she looks amazing,” said Joshua Matassa, 23, from New Orleans. “And the show’s a spectacle – it really looks like a three-ring circus.”
Later, fire shot out of the middle of the stage during “Slave,” and the nearly sold-out 19,000-seat arena broke out into an explosion of screams as Spears performed “Toxic” and “Baby One More Time” back-to-back.
To cap off the show, pyrotechnics made firey rain sprinkle down on Spears and her dance crew as they finished performing “Womanizer.”
“Thank you so much,” said Spears as she blew a kiss to the crowd. “You have a good night.”
The performance marked a dramatic return to form for Spears, who’s been rehearsing for the 32-city tour, and placed aside – for now – the issues that derailed her personal and professional lives: the messy divorce from Kevin Federline, losing custody of her children, and the self-acknowledged breakdown that followed.
Instead, Tuesday was a night of celebration and a chance for Spears, who hails from Kentwood, about 100 miles away, to bask in the glow of hometown fans.
• Britney’s Concert Costumes
• 2002: Britney flips the bird at Mexico City tour stop