Review: Britney Spears - Wembley Arena, London

Britney Spears: Femme Fatale

Opening Acts: Destinee & Paris, Joe Jonas 
Wembley Arena: 31 October 

Destinee & Paris
Looking like the awkwardly untalented lovechildren of Toyah Wilcox and Britney Spears, Destinee & Paris (formerly of girl group Clique Girlz – remember them? Nor do we), bounced around the stage and desperately tried to whip the somewhat bemused audience into a frenzy. It sounded, looked and felt more like a school disco than a multi-million dollar world tour, and I desperately hoped this was not a sign of how the evening would progress. In their defence, a couple of the songs were vaguely catchy in places, but not enough for me. If any readers remember a duo called Shampoo back in the 90s, Destinee & Paris are a less good version of that.

Joe Jonas
Joe Jonas demonstrated that he knows how to handle a stage, but I felt there was something missing from his performance overall (possibly Nick and Kevin, the other two Jonas Brothers). During one song, a particularly awkward-looking dancer gyrated around Jonas, but the effect felt unnecessary. She was later joined by a male dancer, which added a little more interest, but my feeling is that Jonas’ performance could, quite frankly, do without the added distraction. I found it both uninspired and uninspiring. Come back Nick and Kevin, all is forgiven.

Britney Spears: Femme Fatale
After a bit of a disappointing start from the opening acts, my relief at seeing the illuminated ‘Femme Fatale’ sign rise and fly above the stage really was quite something. We were then treated to a video of Spears getting chased by the police while declaring “I’m not that innocent.” The screens parted and Britney made her usual high-impact entrance, leaving the audience (which included many first-time Britney concert-goers, thanks to Live Nation’s partnership with Groupon) in no doubt that this girl means business. 

Opening with Hold It Against Me, the concert continued with the Femme Fatale theme, interspersed with videos to move the story forward. Unfortunately, I found these somewhat distracting and they slow down the energetic pace of the show as a whole. Still, they gave me time to write up my notes on the show for this review.

I have seen several reviews of this tour, Britney’s seventh, which have focused on how few of her previous hits are in the set list, but this is not a Greatest Hits tour. I was prepared for a set list comprising almost entirely of her more recent material, but was pleasantly surprised to find this was not the case. Many old favourites were included, such as Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know, Baby One More Time, I’m A Slave 4 U, Womanizer and Toxic. I can only imagine these other reviewers were the sorts who only like concerts they know all the words to (she didn’t sing ‘Oops... I Did It Again’ which I think is what upset them)! 

I remember Britney’s first UK tour, 11 years ago almost to the day, when I was struck by her energetic and vibrant dance routines. Unfortunately, some of that was missing from her performance on this tour. Her dancing seemed slightly limited and did not flow quite as smoothly as before. Luckily, she was joined on stage by excellent dancers who more than made up for anything Britney lacked. But ignore my pickiness because SHE ACTUALLY SANG LIVE! Britney has been heavily criticised in the past for her pre-recorded shows and she has defiantly answered those critics with this tour.

Whatever else, Britney has proven beyond all doubt that, despite the much publicised difficulties she has overcome in recent years, she still has the twinkle that put her where she is today. It’s good to see that winning smile again, and it is clear she is picking up the pop royalty crown from where she left it in 2008. She’s still a definite successor to Kylie’s Pop Princess title, should the Minogue ever choose to give it up.

The Britney Spears: Femme Fatale European tour plays at Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle (3 November), Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield (5 November), Manchester Evening News Arena (6 November) and Pavilhão Atlântico, Lisbon (9 November 2011) before moving on to UAE and South America. Tickets for UK dates available at:

Review by Robin Foreman-Quercus