A nervous tension fills the arena as nearly 19,000 concertgoers
wait for the main event. The two-story stage hides behind five,
red, Doritos-shaped sheets. Any slight movement in the curtains
incites anticipatory screams among the herds of oogly-eyed
In an instant the lights fade and the collective emits a banshee
wail that fills the arena and assaults the senses, which under
normal circumstance would be frightening, but here is absolutely
The beat drops with the curtain as a portly concierge waddles on
stage wearing a black tuxedo, black top hat and glittered eye
“Welcome to the Onyx Hotel,” he bellows in a sinister voice.
“Let the Onyx be your guide.”
A silver ice cream-truck-like vehicle, stripped of all innocence
by the stripper poles that adorn it, emerges from the back of the
stage with Britney Spears astride.
Fire, lights and skin draws the audience into “The Onyx Hotel,”
Spears’ current tour, which came through Denver on March 15.
The beehive of speakers, anchored above the stage, spews the
distorted synth intro to “Toxic,” Spears’ latest single, as nearly
naked dancers fall from the scaffolding clutching umbrellas like
sexed-up versions of Mary Poppins.
There was dry humping, pole dancing, cleavage quivering, ass
shaking and that was all before the first song was over.
Following this display the wholesome family atmosphere dissolves
into a karaoke sex party minus the singing and I find myself asking
why anyone would pay to be here.
Amy Ridnour, 31, said she got the tickets at work so she brought
her 6-year-old daughter, Delaney, but other members of the audience
chose to leave the kids at home.
“We came because my husband thinks she is hot,” said Lynette
Horton bought the tickets for her husband Alan Horton, 33, as a
joke for his birthday.
But the joke is on those who paid between $40 and $120 to see
Spears lip-sync. Many of these attendees resemble Spears herself,
wearing uber-cropped mini skirts that carefully graze the edge of
their scantily-thonged rears.
And peppered throughout this sea of clones are twenty-somethings
trying to recapture their fading youth, as well as parents,
desperate to connect with their children by sharing an evening of
what they thought would be wholesome entertainment.
However, the erotic innocence of Spears in her schoolgirl
uniform has been stripped away in favor of the flesh tone body suit
she dons during her ode to masturbation, “Touch of My Hand.”
She pretends to sing as she writhes in a fake bathtub.
“I’m into myself in a most precious way,” goes the song as one
male back-up dancer, wearing only his tighty-whities, humps a bed
while another dancer performs a lap dance for no one on a nearby
chair. Not to be outdone, a fellow dancer, lying on a second in her
bra and panties, begins to “find (herself) in a most precious
The escalators, beds, bathtubs, stairs, luggage carts and
flamboyant concierge fool no one. This is no hotel; it is a brothel
— a brothel that deteriorates into “The Best Little Whore House in
Denver” by the next number.
Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds are replaced with thick drumbeats
and Spears in her pink bra and panties. Soon after hitting the
stage in her new outfit she makes her way to a nearby bed. A male
dancer begins stalking her like a hungry lion on the plains of the
Serengeti. The predator finds his prey standing at the headboard,
legs spread, awaiting his arrival.
Those parents, who were so eager to show their kids a good time,
have had enough and quickly guide their youngsters to the nearest
exit. Children, wide-eyed like deer caught in headlights, take one
stair at a time, unsure of each step. They emerge from the portal,
born-again into a new world of tainted morals with parents in
Soon thereafter the spectacle draws to a close and the rest of
the audience disembarks from the journey that was “The Onyx
The show drew mixed reaction from the crowd. Some were pleased
while others were disgusted.
“It was impressive until the last set,” said Julie Hunter, 38.
Hunter said she was embarrassed to have her children there, but her
husband Kelly Hunter, 39, was not.
“The porn part was hot,” Kelly Hunter said.