Recent smash hits "Firework," "Teenage Dream" and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" mixed with sweet-tooth visuals of ice cream, lollipops and cotton candy to make memorable moments at Wednesday night's Katy Perry concert at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Her next tour should be even better.
By then, Perry hopefully will have ditched the misguided and/or crass connotations of the songs "Ur So Gay" and "Peacock." The California native sang these tunes in succession in Indianapolis, which hints that they're ready to be discarded as a pair.
With time, Perry should become more at ease when speaking to the audience between songs. She struggled when addressing her fans as Hoosiers and "Indianans." And she couldn't have sounded more insincere when marveling that "10,000 people came to see little old me in Indiana."
The night's attendance appeared to be closer to 8,000, and the arena was more empty than full when critical darling Janelle Monae opened the show.
Those who were absent missed a blistering and accomplished sampler from the Kansas City native. Monae cycled through songs associated with the Great American Songbook (a cover of Charlie Chapin's "Smile") and Motown (a cover of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back") plus her own interpretations of funk, sci-fi lounge and electronica. She also made all of it look easy.
In terms of Perry and her approach to music, the 26-year-old maintains a strong devotion to guitar rock.
While Britney Spears gravitates to progressive electronica, Lady Gaga has synthpop and Taylor Swift has county-pop, Perry instructs her band to crank up the chords on "Waking Up in Vegas" -- a 2009 hit that excited pre-tween girls to brink of headbanging at Conseco.
"Teenage Dream" selection "Circle the Drain" may have revealed a stronger commitment to sonic aggression than Perry's core audience is hoping to encounter.
When the throbbing guitars of "E.T." arrived, it wasn't difficult to connect dots to Perry's last appearance in Indianapolis: the 2008 edition of the punk rock-themed Warped Tour.
"I Kissed a Girl," Perry's breakthrough hit from 2008, unfolded in three phases. She portrayed a nightclub jazz singer (who vamped long enough to trade pecks on the cheek with a male fan plucked from the crowd) until "Kissed" took a heavy-metal detour. Finally, a refined piano solo was heard as Perry exited the stage for a costume change.
During a different costume-change interlude, the band and backing vocalists delivered a medley that amplified the show's "Candyfornia" theme: "I Want Candy," "Milkshake" and "Tootsee Roll."
Perry acquitted herself as an actor across the night's Katy-in-wonderland story arc, especially when two mimes coerced her into nibbling a mind-altering brownie.
For tangible evidence of her skills, she showed off an MTV moonman trophy she won in August (reminiscent of Bob Dylan's habit of displaying his Academy Award on his guitar amplifier).
More than once, Perry mentioned that cold symptoms were affecting her ability to sing. Perry, who isn't known as someone with an exceptionally strong voice, soldiered on and she fared best during a rendition of the ballad "Not Like the Movies."
Perry's supporting cast helped Perry execute a unplugged version of "The One That Got Away." It was announced earlier on Wednesday that "The One That Got Away" will be released as a single in October. The song will have a chance to make history as the sixth chart-topper to emerge from a single album ("Teenage Dream").
Perry and Michael Jackson (who accomplished the feat with 1987 album "Bad") are the only artists to make it to five.
The finesse heard on "The One That Got Away" represents a change of pace for Perry, and the tune boasts enough nostalgic-based lyrics to perhaps move her into sole possession of first place.