katy perry sparks social commentary during performance in kansas city

katy perry sparks social commentary during performance in kansas city

In the 18 years I have been going to live shows, I have cried less than a handful of times. In fact, I can only remember twice that I’ve cried at shows. And they both happened relatively recently. (But I digress.) And I’ll admit, I’ve seen Katy Perry several times and she had yet to pull even a single tear from me. But on Friday, October 27th, there were waterworks instead of fireworks, and it made for the feel good musical moment of the year, quite frankly.

Katy took the stage to a large crowd in Kansas City at Sprint Center that night. She dazzled, of course, dripping in diamonds while she sang hit after hit. This time around, she took an 80’s spin to a lot of her tracks, pulling out all the stops in neon outfits and touting ginormous props around like it was no one’s business. She floated on planets amongst the crowd playing acoustic guitar and captivating us with a particularly heartbreaking version of “Thinking Of You”, told her mom during a personal call on speakerphone that – to her dad’s chagrin – she was going to play “I Kissed a Girl” again, and pulled out all the stops for her “California Girls”. Props and dancers supplemented the evening, making tracks off of Witness bigger and bolder than anticipated, leaving quite the mark both politically and spiritually. Katy is about harnessing your own power, and it’s thrilling to watch her inspire generations at her shows. The woman is an entertainer, and you never once question that during a performance.

But the most magical part of the night was when Katy called a random girl up from the audience to make a wish on a giant, glittering prop star. She chose the girl because of her neon orange sweatshirt. (And the fact that she was jumping up and down maniacally in her seat.) And, boy, did Katy’s intuition prove to be correct on that decision.

Zoe Black is twelve years old and – while your pre-teen is losing phone privileges and struggling to figure themselves out – her one big wish was that the kids at her sister’s high school would stop bullying her for her autism. That’s right. A twelve year old wished for that, on stage, in front of an arena full of people.

And we all lost our shit.

I was sitting in front of a row of teenagers, and I turned to them and just exclaimed, “I’m not crying, you’re crying!” And Katy teared up, holding on to Zoe for a few long moments before we all yelled “NO MORE BULLYING!” at the star. It was goosebump-inducing, and really put the night into perspective.

Below are a few photos from Katy’s set, with photos of her opener Noah Cyrus to come.

Learn more about autism and how to make a difference at autismspeaks.org.