Britney Spears performs in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER)
"I'm like a performer, the dance floor is my stage, better be ready, hope that you feel the same," Britney Spears sings in her mega-hit "Circus."
But Tel Aviv was not ready and was not in a Britney kind of mood on Monday night, despite the pop princess dancing her firmly-toned butt off for almost two hours and giving the crowd her greatest hits.
Maybe it was the heat. Even after the sun set, the air was thick, heavy and relentless - one woman next to us even fainted.
Maybe it was Yarkon Park. A venue that, let's be honest, is not meant to host 50,000 people. As the hi-tech nation, we should be aspiring to Madison Square Garden, not Monday night in the park with Britney.
And, finally, maybe it's because Israelis don't really get Britney.
Perhaps they don't remember the days nearly a decade ago when Spears' personal life was in shambles, and a night like the last one was unthinkable. Seeing a confident, fit and put together Brit Brit is a triumph in itself and a reaffirmation of the American notion that comebacks are indeed possible.
But all of that seemed to escape the crowd of meandering zombies who were too preoccupied with smoking, talking or making out (yes, really) to enjoy the show.
But that didn't stop these two American girls from belting out every word to her dance club hits. And she churned them out.
One after another, from "Hit Me Baby One More Time"
to "Oops! I Did It Again
" (a song so ubiquitous even Jerusalem Post
Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz was heard humming it in the office this week), Spears gave each song her all.
Sauntering around the stage in a series of different colored leotards that fit her like a glove, Spears radiated confidence. And how refreshing, to see a pop star being sexy not for men, but for women.
Throughout her entire performance, in an interesting display of gender role reversal, she had her male dancers following her lead. When she sang, "All the eyes on me in the center of the ring just like a circus," she wasn't kidding.
At one point, she even invited a male member of the audience to participate in her performance of "Freak Show."
It is unclear whether he was informed that participation would entail having Spears usher him around the stage by a leather leash for all to see, but he seemed like a good sport when that little display was over.
Of course, when one goes to a Britney Spears concert, they don't expect to be wowed by her vocals. Aside from a video emerging of her singing Happy Birthday to a concert goer in Singapore a few days ago, does anybody even know what she sounds like singing one of her songs live, anymore? It was no surprise then, that often the playback didn't quite seem to match what her lips were doing. But for a performer who spent most of her career lip syncing, this is hardly shocking.
As to be expected, the set list of this Britney: Live in Concert tour included some of the songs off her new album, Glory
, a series of breathy, largely forgettable tracks that even Spears seemed a bit bored to perform.
However, when she went a bit further back in her catalog, to hits like "Toxic
and "Scream and Shout
" (a song even the crowd seemed to love), Spears really came to life.
On a night that opened with "Work, Bitch
," where she intoned, "You want a hot body, You want a Bugatti, You want a Maserati, You better work, bitch," Spears spent an hour and a half afterwards doing just that and dancing for every shekel thrown her way for the performance.