Britney at Bill Graham Civic yesterday. Photos by Joseph Schell.
March 27, 2011
@Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Better than: Dashing to Vegas for a 55-hour marriage.
Sunday at around 10 a.m., a man carrying a tray of giant "Britney Spears Is God" buttons shuffled past another man holding a yellow "Jesus Christ Loves You" sign and dipped into a crowd of teenagers who had waited for several hours to attend their version of morning services. The church for the day was Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, for a taping of Good Morning America's spring concert series.
Britney Spears was originally set to perform for the television program outdoors in front of the Castro Theatre. But last week the show was moved to the indoor venue amidst weather and crowd control concerns. Fans snapped up the free tickets online in fourteen minutes. Others won them on radio stations in the Bay Area, as well as places as far as Alaska, Germany, England, and France. One Danville mother told KTVU she had paid $500 for five tickets for her daughter and her friends after they had failed to grab them for free.
One of the great joys of witnessing something like this is to see the extremes that people will go to in order to see someone they worship. Some fans were obviously Catholic -- or at least their "Baby One More Time" schoolgirl outfits suggested they might be. We saw a few girls in this getup, but far more guys -- we lost count at 10. One with painted-on abs ("Just like her!" he exlaimed) handed out flyers for an afterparty at Toad Hall in the Castro as another guy with a big boombox trailed him, the strains of "Baby One More Time" punctuating the look.
There were Britney Bears -- large, hairy gay men tricked out with clip-in hair extensions -- and a plethora of posters. One young man waved a sign that said, "I Want To Have Britney's Babies"; as we passed, we heard him say he originally wanted to make one that said, "I Want To Lick Britney's Clit."
We were surprised that in this sick, cynical town, no one dressed as bald Britney (perhaps with matching evil Sam Lutfi?). But we were delighted to see a good handful of "I'm a Slave 4U" snake accessories (such as the fellow in :50 of the video below from The Bay Citizen).
Once inside the venue, local drag queens Heklina, Donna Sachet, Pollo Del Mar, Juanita More, and Sister Roma -- what, Suppositori Spelling wasn't available? -- killed time for about 90 minutes. Though occasionally assisted by a few flips from spirit squad Cheer SF, this devolved into something rather painful to wait through. But we appreciated the impromptu fashion show: "Under her shimmering couture gown, Heklina is wearing an adult diaper by Depends. She is topping it all off with some high fashion jewelry from So Good on Haight Street."
Finally -- mercifully! -- GMA hosts Sam Champion and Robin Roberts, the latter fresh from her Chris Brown trauma of last week, appeared onstage to really kick off the show.
Britney appeared in a glittery silver outfit to lip-sync "Hold It Against Me," the cheesy first single from Femme Fatale (takeaway line: "If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?"). No one expected live singing, but the overall audio quality was poor and at points it sounded like she was in a tunnel; it improved over her next two performances.
Spears hasn't been the same as a dancer for many years, and she still appears to hobble as if in pain sometimes during her routines. A now years-old knee injury could be sufficient explanation, but it also seems like she also doesn't have the same movement and flow with her upper body as she once did. She doesn't seem to enjoy dancing as much anymore.