There’s a scene from this backstage documentary of Katy Perry’s 2011 California Dreams World Tour that has stuck with me for 10 years.
Again and again, the movie shows her opening number. Beneath the stage, Perry steps onto a platform and raises a microphone high in her right hand, holding it like the Statue of Liberty’s torch.
The platform lifts her, smiling, into an arena of adoring fans while the opening chords of Teenage Dream play.
But as the shows stack up, the pace begins to grind her down.
Her marriage to Russell Brand is falling apart. When Brand delivers the death knell on their relationship (via text!), Katy Perry is distraught.
She’s supposed to be getting ready for her show but instead she’s curled up in a ball, crying.
Cut to Katy minutes later in full costume standing on the platform beneath the stage.
She’s doubled over crying in pain, exhaustion, and grief.
Above her an oblivious crowd of 25,000 roars.
One crew member radios another to prepare for it “not happening.”
Without a word, she straightens up and lifts the microphone into place. She gives the nod and the platform ascends.
When she reaches the top, she’s smiling a smile that all the world would believe genuine.
It’s the perfect encapsulation of the price of fame.
Sick, tired, or heartbroken, when the platform ascends, she must be Katy Perry, optimistically upbeat icon.
The show must go on.
This is part of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, running daily through the month of November.