Atlanta Music Scene

Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta’s vibrant and evolving music scene. From hot new artists to Music Midtown to shows at the Tabernacle, she’s got you covered.

Katy Perry's 'Witness' tour will be a spectacle to behold

When fans step into Philips Arena on Tuesday to behold Katy Perry’s “Witness” tour, they’ll be transported to a world of kaleidoscopic colors, mega-sized props (you can’t miss the salt and pepper shakers) and other visual dazzlers to accompany her set list of frothy pop songs.

While the inarguably plucky Perry is willing to fly high to entertain her fans and is a creative spirit as well, she turned to the Australian duo the Squared Division to help her assemble her stage show.

Ashley Evans and Antony Ginandjar front the production house that assists artists with their artistic needs, and they joined Perry as her creative directors and choreographers for this tour, which features 10 dancers, a six-piece band, and “hundreds” of people backstage dealing with wardrobes and technical aspects of the show.

A few days after the Squared Division guided the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, Evans checked in from London — where he and Ginandjar are creative directors on “The X Factor U.K.” for the first time — to discuss their shared vision with Perry.

Q: How and when did you hook up with Katy?

A: It was all very quickly. We were brought on board to work on the Glastonbury festival with her and then for a couple of promo performances we were directing, and the tour came straightaway after that. It was a magical, crazy time.

Q: How long did it take to develop all of these concepts?

A: Once we started, it was nonstop. We probably had about five months working on the show, and coming up with initial creative ideas took some time. Some of the larger scale props and detailed parts of the show take longer to develop and for the set builders to build. We spent four weeks in a dance studio previewing lighting and another four weeks in a production venue where we had the stage set up and went through the show number by number.

Q: How is Katy as a boss?

A: One of the greatest things I love about her is she is 100 percent across every detail and element. She wants to see every design sketch, every fabric choice; it’s her brand and her opinion. She’s the one going up there who has to sell it. I think the reason we were brought together for this project, it was kind of timing for both of us. We were seeing the same things for the show. She saw that in us, we saw that in her. Nothing in this creative world is easy, but it definitely was a joy to work with her.

Q: Katy is airborne a lot during her shows. Was there ever any nervousness from her about doing anything?

A: (Laughs) I think she spent most of her career flying through the air. She’s so unafraid. We’re more afraid than her! Her fly team, the guys who manage the aerial stuff in the show have been with her since tour one, and they know her so well. She is the most unafraid artist I’ve worked with.

Q: Do you have any favorite tours from other artists that inspired you?

A: Our biggest goal was to create something fresh, but in line with Katy. Everything (on stage) is giant and that was our vision to make these bold, iconic set pieces and moments that were outrageous. There’s so many things we could do with her and she’s like, “Of course!” That’s so wonderful to have when you’re creating.

Q: You’ve done a lot of awards shows and reality shows, but I would guess creating a tour is much more fulfilling because it lasts for months.

A: One of the greatest things is that we write the show and rehearse the show and then we’re stuck in this bubble for a very long time and then it’s opening night and 15,000 people watch the show and you’re hearing people laugh at the right time and dance when you wanted them to dance. You’re seeing them go on the journey and get excited for the moments that are iconic to Katy. The show set list has a flow and a journey. That’s the most rewarding bit for us, is seeing the fans’ reactions.


Katy Perry

With Purity Ring. 7 p.m. Tuesday. $50.50-$200.50. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000,

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.