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Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:57 UK
Britney's Circus gets the thumbs up

By Sarah Jane Griffiths
Newsbeat entertainment reporter at the 02 arena

Britney Spears
Britney's O2 gig was her first in the UK for five years

Britney Spears staged her UK comeback last night with her first gig here in five years.

But if anyone was looking for signs of last year's meltdown to surface they would have left London's O2 a bit disappointed.

She's been busy toning up, learning circus tricks and by the sounds of it practising her lip-synching a bit too.

Britney fans Janine and Natalie, 22 and 23 from Ruislip, shared their excitement with Newsbeat as the lights went down.

"Goosebumpy excited!" they laughed. "It's like a life event!" said Janine.

Natalie added: "I've never been to a gig before and i can't even explain how excited I am. I'll probably cry when she comes out! In fact I'm so excited i could cry now!"

Natalie and Janine
Natalie (left) almost cried with excitement at the gig

So for the grand entrance, Britney was lowered down from the ceiling in two silver rings to deafening cheers from the crowd, dressed as a Circus ringmaster in red jacket, top hat and hotpants.

What with it being The Circus tour, she opened with her track Circus from the album of the same name, and basically stuck to a circus theme all night.

Cue lots of big exciting flashy routines - some even involving whips or freaks in gimp masks.

Whipping off her jacket she jumped into a cage which was wheeled up and down by some of her helpful dancers as Britney writhed around inside looking fantastic and singing Piece of Me.

It was just the first of 12 costume changes - down to one of many sequin corsets.

Some magic tricks, including a Britney disappearing act, followed before several outfit changes later a belly dancing routine.

Britney Spears
The singer wore a variety of revealing outfits

Britney was then handed a different microphone and finally addressed the crowd. But what to say?

"What's up London? How you guys feeling tonight? Awesome!" Slightly predictable but lovely to hear her real live voice all the same. Which would continue - briefly.

"I'm so happy to be here tonight with all of you. Right now I'm going to slow things down - with a ballad that's called Everytime."

Huge cheers as Britney then sat on a giant umbrella which floated up into the sky to sing what would prove to be her only totally live track of the night. Cue lots of tears. Yes, tears.

"I thought that was amazing - it brought a tear to my eye!" said one fan - dressed as a schoolgirl in tribute to Britney's first single Hit Me Baby One More Time.

"I thought it was a really spectacular show, she did herself proud!"

Most fans were quick to defend the fact Britney chose to lip-synch through the rest of the show, won over by her acrobatics - which included using two men suspended from the ceiling as a swing - while blindfolded.

Britney Spears
A spectacular show but the singer seemed to mime on many songs

"It didn't bother me because she put on such a good show," said 16-year-old Rebecca Basketfield.

She and 23-year-old sister Sarah had had t-shirts printed up with Britney song titles to show their love for the singer.

"The stuff she was doing, she was doing acrobatics and everything... you can't really do that if you're singing.

"If she was singing live during that stuff it wouldn't have sounded very good."

The lack of live vocals did ruin it for some though.

"She wasn't singing!" moaned 26-year-old Stephen from South London.

"I don't like her anyway, I came along because there was a spare ticket."

"Which no one would take!" added his friend David.

Stephen and David with another friend
Stephen (left) was one of the fans who left disappointed

"It could have been anyone," continued Stephen. "A Britney CD with someone prancing about to it. It could have been anyone!"

Looking at most of Britney's outfits and plenty of her dance moves too, you could be forgiven for assuming she'd very much like to have been a stripper in another life. Not least of all her sexy policewoman outfit.

She saved the best for last though, and used that old showbiz trick of keeping the crowd waiting so long they start to believe you're not coming back.

For her encore Britney burst onto the stage complete with a large truncheon and several dancers to shake it at.

Womaniser might be one of her newest tracks but it seemed to be the real favourite, with pure joy (and possibly a long night of booze) on the faces of most of her fans.

As she sung the track, a rainstorm of confetti fell down from the roof of the arena.

It was just the best thing ever I've ever seen in my life!

So a fitting first gig for Ruislip's biggest Britney fans - Janine and Natalie?

"Amazing! Nothing else to say but amazing! We want it to start all over again!"

"It was just the best thing ever I've ever seen in my life!" laughed Natalie.

So any sign of those tears?

"I did have a little tear and a little moment. I was shaking like anything! She had to take the camera off me! It's Britney Spears for God's sake!"

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