On Tuesday afternoon, pop songstress Katy Perry went back to high school, specifically to Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, which she attended as a freshman but left (with a GED) to pursue fame and fortune.
You could say that this worked out well for Ms. Perry. Two of her singles (and counting) have reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, plus she currently has the No. 1 album in the United States.
Of course, in the years after high school, Perry has also become a tabloid favorite, in particular since she started dating and got engaged to Russell Brand, the brilliantly funny (at least in one of our opinions) ex-junkie, ex-sex-addict British comedian. Thankfully, Perry seems to be handling her fame much better than some other young women who regularly grace the tabloid media.
Perry — who emphasized that she is from Goleta, not Santa Barbara as is commonly reported — was back at her old high school for a private concert for the current students and staff. The visit was also tied in with a promotion for the new movie You Again, a comedy that involves grown-ups revisiting high school issues. A few sweepstakes winners had won a free trip to California to catch the concert, plus a special advance screening of the film in Hollywood and an after-party on the beach.
Wearing a Dos Pueblos Chargers cheerleaders uniform, Perry led off with “Hot N Cold,” the hit bipolar love song off her 2008 album One of the Boys. She then peeled off the Charger uniform to reveal a red-and-white striped “sunskirt” complete with red-and-white striped boots. She followed this with her ubiquitous summer 2008 smash hit, “I Kissed a Girl,” which really got the crowd going.
Perry then spoke to the crowd about graduating high school — something she missed — and getting all “grown up” and being able to party in ... Las Vegas. This led to another hit, “Waking Up in Vegas,” sung while flashing a V hand sign. Next she played the title track to her new album, the clubby “Teenage Dream.”
It was the intro to her next song that got the most response from the crowd. The 25-year-old Perry noticed a guy in the audience who was the “hottest guy” in her class. He never asked her out, and she said, “So look at me now, sucker!” and launched into the song “UR so Gay.”
A couple of new tunes from Teenage Dream followed: “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” about an experience at Zelo on State Street, “Firework,” and the suggestive “Peacock.” She wrapped up the set with this summer’s mega hit, “California Gurls.”
It’s great to see that Perry hasn’t forgotten her roots in Goleta, and Santa Barbara. We’re betting she’ll be welcome any time for a return visit.
— John Conroy is a contributing photographer and writer for Noozhawk. Jeff Moehlis is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site, music-illuminati.com.
(Santa Barbara Arts TV video)