Review

Britney Spears in Tel Aviv: A Faded Stage Persona and a Deep Sense of Playback

Britney’s main weapon: She’s Britney, bitch. But that wasn't enough

Britney performing in Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park stadium, July 3, 2017.
Avishag Shaar-Yashuv

Well, how did Britney Spears sing? Or perhaps, how did she not sing?

Let’s say there was a very deep feeling of playback. And that’s okay. We didn’t think she’d suddenly emerge as a first-class vocalist. 

Spears’ songs were always engineered to the very limits of the possible. And more than engineered, they were hacked to pieces. Within this context, playback at a performance is reasonable. You don’t come to a Britney show to get a concentrated dose of authenticity. You come to bask in workout music on some kind of trashy totalitarian planet.

But there are good hacked-to-pieces shows and mediocre ones. Britney’s performance at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on Monday belonged in the latter category. 

One reason for this was the music, which didn’t demonstrate any creativity even in the field of brutal musical hacking. But the main reason relates to Britney’s stage persona. That’s her main tool, in contrast to singers who know how to sing, or those who are passable singers but excellent dancers. 

Britney’s main weapon is that she’s fucking Britney. But her stage persona on Monday was rather dull. She announced “I’m Britney bitch!” at the right moment, but she didn’t seem as if she was completely in control of the situation. 

“You want a piece of me,” she sang, but she gave the impression that there were almost no pieces left. 

Britney Spears performing in Tel Aviv, July 03, 2017.
Avishag Shaar-Yashuv

To her credit, let it be said that she sweated a lot, as did we. And that it was nice to hear “Toxic” live.

A dry but interesting fact: I don’t think Yarkon Park has ever hosted a performance with such a one-sided gender profile. It turns out that to men, Britney doesn’t really matter. And that’s perfectly fine. They don’t matter to her, either.

But women are with her. Tens of thousands of women flocked to the park on Monday, and the venue was arranged for maximum capacity, as it was for performances by the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. 

My impression was that for every five women in the park, there was one man. Relatively speaking, the men stayed home. And they didn’t miss much.

Britney performing in Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park stadium, July 3, 2017.
Avishag Shaar-Yashuv