(USA Today) NEW YORK – Katy Perry honored the victims of the Las Vegas massacre with a message of love and strength.
Bringing her eye-popping Witness: The Tour to Madison Square Garden Monday night, the pop star took a short break from singing to pay tribute to the 59 people killed and more than 500 injured late Sunday night when a gunman opened fire on a music festival crowd.
“I want to take this moment right here for Las Vegas tonight,” Perry said. “Listen, I know it’s been a tough day, but music is special. It’s magic. It’s something that unites us. There’s a community here that we need to take care of, that we need to surround, that we need to lift up. I know that we all feel very disconnected sometimes, but music brings us together and it should never be a place of fear.”
She then asked the crowd to introduce themselves to their seatmates and say "I love you."
“No one’s going to steal our joy,” she continued, introducing her song Power. “No one’s going to wilt our flowers or clip our wings. No one’s going to take our power from us."
The uplifting moment echoed a similar message she preached at the top of the show, as she segued into her hit Dark Horse.
“Tonight we’re going to outshine that (expletive) darkness in the world,” Perry said. “And we’re going to sing louder than we’ve ever sung and dance (more) than we’ve ever danced.”
Perry, who is touring North America in support of fourth album Witness, was one of the dozens of celebrities who reacted to the shooting on Twitter Monday morning. “(Expletive) devastated, furious and heartbroken,” she wrote. “I mourn today.”
Concert safety concerns in the wake of the massacre didn’t appear to deter any of the 10,000 people who filled the nearly sold-out Madison Square Garden Monday. Stephanie Bradford, 26, came from Brooklyn with her boyfriend and cousin to see the show, and wasn't discouraged from attending after seeing the news.
“Of course you’re always going to have some concerns, but you can’t live your life in fear,” Bradford said. “Always keep watch, but you can’t do anything about it. I feel secure.”
Park City, Utah, resident Gary Mickens, 68, was visiting the city with his wife and bought tickets to see Perry hours before the concert began. He didn't notice heightened security at the venue, outside of metal detectors and armed police officers patrolling the entrance.
“Not more than you’d find anywhere in the city,” Mickens said. “There’s always a big presence. I’m going to Yankee Stadium tomorrow and there should be a big presence there, too.”