Dressed as a sexy ringmaster in New Orleans and directing a colorful cast that included jugglers, elephants, sword swallowers, acrobats, dancing chickens, donkey basketball teams and martial arts dancers, Britney Spears delivered a tightly choreographed, except for the slide in the elephant shit, if perfunctory performance Tuesday night as she kicked off her first concert tour in five years.
The 27-year-old pop superstar's "Circus" tour kicked off in her home state of Louisiana at the New Orleans Arena before a nearly sold-out crowd that cheered on their idol catching a pie in the face from a clown as she gyrated and slithered across the stage while singing some of her biggest hits, from the recent "Womanizer" to her first and now classic song, "Baby One More Time."
The wild applause and screaming increased as one elephant left the stage and ran amuck through the crowd and scattering people producing a panic until a trainer got to it. Thankfully no one was hurt.
Cheers have been largely absent from Spears' life since the last time she went on tour in 2004, as the singer endured a devastating downward spiral: Due largely to personal troubles, she went from one of pop music's most profitable, in-demand entertainers to an out-of-control tabloid specialty who seemed to be on a path to destruction.
But, thanks to some plastic surgery and tummy tucks and an entire circus, the kids and fans are back.
"I mean, she could do something REALLY weird and we don't want to miss it", stated one longtime fan.
Meanwhile, sitting unnoticed in the audience, Madonna was taking notes and dodging pigeon shit from the magician"s performance.