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Review: Britney Spears is a real 'put-on-a-show kind of girl' in 'Piece of Me'

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Pop star Britney Spears kicked off the third show of her Las Vegas concert “Britney: Piece of Me” on Monday night (Dec. 30). At her new home in Planet Hollywood, she ran through 24 of her biggest hits, including two songs from her latest album “Britney Jean.” Her recent material is always a sight to see but it was the older hits that really stole the show. Spears dusted off songs she hadn't performed in years like “(You Drive Me) Crazy” and “Stronger” and she brought new energy to them. On “Circus,” she sings, “I'm a put-on-a-show kind of girl,” and she lived up to the lyric with her on-point dance moves and wild stage theatrics.

Spears is the youngest music superstar on the Las Vegas scene to headline her own show. Her past tours have always been over the top productions and she made sure that “Piece of Me” is grandest and wildest show yet. A giant tree, flying in angel wings and a full circus are just some of parts of Spears' show that fit the spectacle of Sin City. The whole theater in Planet Hollywood is used to make “Piece of Me” a music experience looking back on Spears' 15 years in the business.

“Britney: Piece of Me” opens with a video montage of Spears' greatest moments from throughout the years. She emerges from a sphere soon after in a flesh-colored outfit similar to the one from her 2000 MTV Video Music Awards performance. The music of “Work B**ch” kicks in and Britney rises to the occasion, delivering the fierce dance moves from track's music video. Two of her Billboard no. 1 singles “Womanizer” and “3” follow. The latter is like a naughty schoolyard chant so Spears fittingly performs it in an on-stage playground with acrobatic choreography.

For the next section of the show, a video of Spears as an angel engulfs the theater as confetti showers the audience. In a flying angel costume, she ascends over the stage to sing her haunting ballad “Everytime.” Britney loses her wings afterword and enters the dark side as a fallen angel. Now rocking a brunette wig and lacy black outfit, Spears does two classics back-to-back “...Baby One More Time” and “Oops!... I Did It Again.” She turns her sweet bubblegum pop tracks upside down with twisted rock remixes. It's an absolute show highlight to see her beloved hits re-imagined in such a manner.

Another interlude featuring Spears' many music videos hypes up the audience before she takes the stage again for “Me Against the Music.” In a sequined ensemble, which includes a Michael Jackson-like cap, she busts the moves from 2003's “Music” video like the old days. Britney's fan favorite album “Blackout” then takes center stage during this part of the show when she performs “Gimme More,” “Break the Ice” and “Piece of Me.” Hearing her iconic line “It's Britney, B**ch!” is enough to make the theater go wild. During “Ice,” Spears pop, locks and drops it and she later includes a nod to the King of the Pop under the spotlight.

Spears brightens things up with the glowing rave section for “Britney: Piece of Me.” Her collaboration with will.i.am “Scream and Shout” bumps as she readies the next performance. Britney brings out her male dancers for an electronic remix of “Boys.” When Pharrell Williams' verse hits, she gets down to the track with the neon-colored group. To slow things down, Spears takes a seat on the stage to sing her recent single on heartbreak “Perfume.”

With the “Get Naked (I Got a Plan)” interlude, Spears ups the sex factor of the show. She enters the stage on a throne to sing “I'm a Slave 4 U,” pulling off the iconic dance moves from the 2001 music video. For the “Blackout” cut “Freakshow,” Britney gets out her leather and kinky goods to dominate a male member from the audience. Former *NSYNC member Lance Bass was pulled up during Monday night's show for a brief but sexy reunion with Spears. She rounds out the section with a playful performance of “Do Somethin'” involving some trippy chair stunts.

The big top comes to town for “Circus” along with some pirouette dancers, a strong man and other attractions. Spears is the center of attention when she comes out in a ring of fire. With curly locks and a pinstriped dress, Britney gets aggressive in her dance routine, putting on a lively show. “I Wanna Go” delivers on more theatrics as Spears and her dancers play around with carnival mirrors. All the tricks are put aside when she performs “Lucky” among the stars. The chipper pop track is turned into a solemn yet captivating ballad.

A massive tree takes center stage during the jungle setup. The theater is turned into a serene scene with water raining from the ceiling. Spears opens with a slow rendition of “Toxic.” When she jumps off the tree, the track picks up to dance music speed. Britney serves up nostalgia overload when she follows with “Stronger” and “(You Drive Me) Crazy.” The former was a real crowd favorite back in Spears' “Oops!” days and it has the same effect years later, drawing the biggest audience response. “Crazy” gets the best update of the whole show. Spears grooves to the hot club remix of her 1999 hit and ends it off with a “Stop!” She closes “Piece of Me” with the high-energy encore “Till the World Ends.”

For Spears fans, “Britney: Piece of Me” has all her hits lined up from “...Baby One More Time” to “Work B**ch.” All the older material is remade for the show while the newer stuff keeps everything fresh. Team Britney should think about doing a “B in the Mix: The Remixes” album down the line with the incredible setlist. Visually, she puts on a stunning show with a whole lot of pizazz and theatrics to entertain the casual Vegas goer. Overall, “Britney: Piece of Me” is a live, 90-minute respective on the best bits of Spears' enduring 15-year career and that should be reason enough to make the trip out to Las Vegas.

Setlist

1. "Work B**ch"
2. "Womanizer"
3. "3"
4. "Everytime"
5. "...Baby One More Time"
6. "Oops!... I Did It Again"
7. "Me Against the Music"
8. "Gimme More"
9. "Break the Ice"
10. "Piece of Me"
11. "Scream & Shout"
12. "Boys"
13. "Perfume"
14. "Get Naked (I Got a Plan)"
15. "I'm a Slave 4 U"
16. "Freakshow"
17. "Do Somethin'"
18. "Circus"
19. "I Wanna Go"
20. "Lucky"
21. "Toxic"
22. "Stronger"
23. "(You Drive Me) Crazy"
24. “Till the World Ends”

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