Not long ago, in those dark days of 2007, it was conventional wisdom that Britney Spears might have problems getting through a Rorschach test, never mind a full-scale, Las Vegas-style concert extravaganza.
And yet, there was Spears Tuesday night at Tulsa's BOK Center, performing as if all that tabloid mess had been scrubbed from the collective memory. No, she had not been magically transformed into a stunning singer, but Spears made her initial reputation as a performer, and at the BOK Center, she was performing.
Following abbreviated sets by Kristinia DeBarge and former "American Idol" champion Jordin Sparks, the Barnum & Britney lights went up, and the Big Apple Circus took to the three rings on the floor of the arena, bouncing on trampolines and spinning chrome-plated giant cubes.
After all, this was "The Circus, Starring Britney Spears," so the concert began with a surplus of human feats of strength and agility before Spears, 27, descended from the rafters in an egg-shaped cage.
This was a tightly choreographed "Circus," and not just in terms of
dance: the concert moved quickly and with metronomic precision. Spears danced and worked as a magician's assistant during performances of "Circus" and "Piece of Me," and acrobats spiraled from the ceiling on long silk scarves as a prelude to "Radar." Then Spears moved away from the big tent theme and into a martial arts concept piece for "Ooh Ooh Baby" and "Hot As Ice" and an elaborate bicycle routine for "Boys."
Then, just as she did during a Sept. 5 performance in Greensboro, N.