LIVE REVIEW: Britney Spears, LG Arena (Birmingham), 30/10/2011

Bleach blonde Barbie doll Britney meets Christina duo Desiree and Paris have the difficult task of warming up an almost empty LG Arena for tonight’s big act. It is not their fault, the ticket states an 8pm start and only those, who like me, stressed about potential crowd problems, arrive early enough to see the extremely enthusiastic duo. There is nothing wrong with the poptastic partners, whose frenetic approach appears wholehearted to its manufactured core. Whether the pair will go on to set the musical world alight is yet to be seen, but there is no denying their vocal prowess or their go get it attitude.

While Desiree and Paris made the most of a difficult situation, Disney hunk Joe Jonas struggles despite the screams that greet his very presence. Clearly wanting to emulate Justin Timberlake, Jonas lacks the aforementioned’s panache even if he has the vocal dexterity to carry him through. Jonas is sadly forgettable and as the screams wane, he resorts to flexing his muscles to win over the fluttering teenage hearts.

After a half an hour break, Britney bursts onto the stage to the beat of recent single “Hold It Against Me”. The pounding pulse sets the tone for the first half of the ‘Femme Fatale’-heavy set and even Britney herself seems to be struggling to have a good time. With barely a word uttered, Britney takes herself through the motions, with the whole event seeming mechanical and methodical. While “Gimme More” gets the crowds suddenly screaming for more, it is the “Hit Me Baby (One More Time)/S&M” remix that gets the crowd roaring and Britney to relax.

Once in her comfort zone, Britney excels. Gone are the stiff movements and in their place, a bold, confident performer appears centre stage. The crowd finally find their feet as Britney closes her initial set with the addictive “Womaniser”, and they rise once again as Britney returns for an encore of “Toxic” and “Till The World Ends”.

With the first half wasted and unwanted by both performer and audience, it is a shame Britney did not focus more on the hits the hardy fans craved. That being said, the beaming audience chanting “Womaniser” as they walked out of the Arena, were far from disappointed. And as for this hardened fan – well, I concede – I am, and no doubt always will be – Team Britney.

Reviewer: Jeremy Williams
Rating: 3/5 

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