After approximately three miserably failed attempts at sleeping on the night of December 1st, it became evident that I would not be getting in that three hours of sleep before the concert. Instead, I waited up patiently until I met up with my fellow Britney buddy, Erica to hop onto the 4 AM train and begin our journey into New York. Contrary to my deepest fears, the train was not delayed, our taxi did not get us lost, and I did not die. Instead, we got there promptly at 6 AM.
Once we got there, we stood in a massive line for about ten minutes, only to find out later that the line was for people standing around hoping to get tickets. As it turned out, the ticket winners could walk right in the entire time. Oops.
After being poked, prodded, and patted down profusely by a fleet of security teams, we were led into the venue and given a paddle that said “Britney Spears” on one side and “Happy Birthday!” on the other in Circus letters. Cute! We also found out later that the Elizabeth Arden Company was handing out Curious and Fantasy tees somewhere else in the lobby. Anyway, the venue itself was quite fitting: The inside lobby featured popcorn and cotton candy vendors, little gaming areas and bright decorations, and even authentic port-o-potties! I’m always one for accuracy.
Almost immediately, the madness began. Within just fifteen minutes of getting seated, Jamie Spears and Larry Rudolph casually came out from behind stage to survey the arena with each other, no more than fifteen feet away. Two of the major players in Britney’s life and careerâ€¦Just wandering aimlessly around me. Our section soon went wild upon spotting them, triggering the entire auditorium to follow suit. Later on, choreographers Wade Robson and Andre Fuentes showed up on stage to survey the floor. They seemed overly interested in one of the hinges on the cage door, which the stage hands had to fidget with until the very last moments of the show. Lynn Spears entered along with Britney’s brother Bryan, and I saw her assistant, Brett, soon after. Britney’s babies, Jayden James and Sean Preston, decked out in their signature berets, made a show-stealing cameo around the venue about a half hour before Britney came to perform.
The crowd was truly very warm and loving throughout the two hour event. Clearly, many of the winners were also hardcore fans who rushed to enter their names into the contest. Often times, it was impossible to decipher what the producers and reporters were saying amidst the voice-cracking shrieks of “Happy Birthday Britney!” and “I love you!” echoing from ringside.
The dynamic of my own section was amusing: In front, a fleet of overly concerned fans who spent a great deal of the first hour alternating between panicking about a few pieces of dropped popcorn in the ring and cooing over Britney’s family. “Look how cute she is!! Man, Why can’t she be my mom?” one of the girls longingly sighed in front of me while staring over at Lynn. Behind me sat the ever reliable catty gays, who were never too shy to offer a poisonous stab of criticism about the physical flaws of — Well, everyone. They kept themselves entertained by prescribing loving little nicknames of affection, like “big nose,” the dancer. Later on, Britney was thankfully kept out of their line of fire, apparently meeting their seal of approval. Or, as they put it: “God DAMN, bitch looks hot!”
Throughout the first hour of the program, we were responsible for breaking into applause about once every ten minutes. Naturally, we all hammed it up for the cameras. I got on for about two seconds, though with the faces I’m making on screen, I’d rather not draw attention to the matter. Other than that, there wasn’t too much excitement for that first hour, aside from trying to get Wade’s attention. He’s quite nice in personâ€¦Trust me.
At around 8, the lights finally dropped as the dancers took their marks on the stage along with the circus performers. Following a shrill chorus of “Oh my God, oh my God!â€ from around the arenaâ€”as well as my anxiety-induced nail digging clench onto my friend Erica’s leg (apologies in retrospect for that one)â€”the spotlight shone onto a blonde-haired silhouette that came dashing out from the back and up onto the cage ceiling.
Let me just say that Britney looked absolutely stunning in real life. I cannot emphasize it enough. Her body was toned to perfection: Defined abs, muscular legs, and a butt that could have only been sculpted with the aid of divine intervention. Of course I’m far from unbiased, but in my honest opinion, I do believe that she is the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen in my entire life. She was standing only ten or fifteen feet away from me the entire time, and I simply could not take my eyes off of her. It’s her aura, her presenceâ€¦She truly is an icon. To describe the moment I finally saw her in the flesh for the first time is impossible. Finally being able to see someone you’ve adored and admired for over ten years of your life? No words.
And so, “Circus” began. I won’t really go into detail about the performances because what I saw is essentially what everyone else saw on screen. She did the damn thing, plain and simple. I can say that the beginning vogue atop the cage was utter perfection; the spotlight cast an amazing silhouette, and she looked like an absolute superstar. I don’t think the cameras really captured just how awe-inspiring that moment was.
After the crowd spent a moment or two staring at each other in disbelief, we began to wait for the crew to set up for “Womanizer.” I sat around waiting, occasionally watching as Lynn, Jamie, and the babies interact with each other. It was unbelievable that I was just watching them in front of my eyes! At one point, JJ grabbed a Happy Birthday sign and began to flail it around in the air, cooing loudly and giggling — probably one of the cutest things I’ve seen in a very long time.
Then came “Womanizer,” which was a similar affair as everything we’d already seen during the European promotional week. Less props and somewhat less dancing, it was essentially was I expected. Most importantly, I got to witness the signature Britney boob-jiggle that leads into the chorusâ€¦Epic.
On a curious side note, after Britney’s performance of “Womanizer,” I did see her angrily talking to Larry in the back as they prepared the cake segment. They looked quite serious. I don’t know what it was about, and I don’t want to start any rumors. Chances are she was just being critical about some detail within the performance or something. Whatever it was, she was due out again a few seconds later to receive the birthday cake. And so, like a champ, she turned right back around, put on a big smile, and began her birthday segment: Business as usual.
However, as strictly business as she is, she did manage to crack just once: For us! I was lucky enough to be seated directly behind the opening prop for “Womanizer.” Once she took her spot behind the ring, our section was absolutely going berserk trying to get Britney to look over. She stood there waiting for the lights to drop. Finally, after a few final screams of “I love you, Britney,” she turned to us, smiled, and quickly waved! Success: We broke the Britney.
Of course, following the birthday celebration was the announcement of Britney’s new tour: The Circus: Starring Britney Spears, which launches in March in New Orleans. Diane Sawyer, who continued to prove her incompetence as a host as the morning went on, threw off most of the crowd when she asked Britney why the first tour date was so important. “It’s home,” Diane hinted to her. “Oh, yes: We’re starting the tour in America.” Britney responded, slightly confused. “Well yes, but it’s your hometown: New Orleans!” Diane responded triumphantly. The awkward confusion on Britney’s face afterward was priceless.