Britney Spears spoke to the audience just three times during her concert at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena Thursday night.
However, the pop princess more than made up for her “meekness” by performing non-stop for two hours, resulting in a grand total of 26 songs, mostly hits.
It was the first concert held by a high-profile international artist in Manila following the bombing incident that rocked fellow American singer Ariana Grande’s in Manchester.
A few hours earlier, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police(PNP), said in Manila Bulletin Hot Seat news forum that Spears’ show in Manila would be safe and secure – and it was.
Security was tighter than usual at the venue and the police were everywhere.
Britney’s show in Manila was a night of fun, not fright. The repertoire was a crowd-pleaser that included her earlier hits (“Baby One More Time,” “Oops, I Did It Again”), biggest dance floor anthems (“Till The World Ends”), some slow jams (“Slumber Party,” “Make Me”), and a lot of sing-along favorites (“If You Seek Amy,” “Stronger,” “Boys”).
At one point, the 35-year-old singer paid a short tribute to rapper Missy Elliott by doing an interlude mash-up of the latter’s “Work It” and “Get Ur Freak On” before going back to her originals.
Britney also did her collaboration hits, most notably “Me Against The Music” (though Madonna’s part seemed to have been edited) and “Scream And Shout” with will.i.am (as seen on the video wall singing his part, one pixel at a time).
Like any female dance artist worth her high cut leather boots and tanga wear, Britney presented her music in parts via several acts or motifs.
She took the audience to a fantasy land of singing venus flytraps in the Grammy-winning “Toxic;” to the circus while doing, well, “Circus;” a world of geometric patterns as “Piece Of Me” was in progress; and to a sort of sex den with “Slave 4 U,” and so on. It was like theatre with women empowerment and sensuality as main themes.
As had been reported to death through the years, Britney sometimes lip syncs in her concerts and Thursday night, it seemed, was no different. Then again, the elaborate dance choreographies she does leave her no choice but to do so, as the most ardent Britney fan would point out.
Too bad for ballad-loving Pinoys, the singer did not perform love songs from her catalogue of which she has a few albeit precious ones (“Everytime,” “From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart,” “I’m Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman,” “I’m Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman”). It wasn’t necessary, but it surely would’ve been well-received.
Maybe next time, Britney?