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Spears brings smiles and energy

Lots of fireworks — and plenty of energy, volume

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More photos: Britney plays to full house at Delta Center

BRITNEY SPEARS, the A-TEENS and MIKAILA in concert, Delta Center, Monday evening, Aug. 14; one performance only.

It was a night of firsts Monday at the Delta Center.

The show was part of Britney Spears' first world tour, and it was the first time several of the young attendees had ever been to a concert — any concert.

For Jace Reading and Katherine Ramynke, both 8, it was their first date. And they were not without manners.

"When I start to scream, you might want to plug your ears," Katherine matter-of-factly warned the person sitting next to her.

And, when the barrage of advertising campaigns started flickering across the screens, the promised screaming started — and lasted well after Spears took the stage, hatched from a silver ball.

Spears made it quite apparent from her first song that this wasn't going to be anything like her Utah State Fair appearance last year. When she belted out "(You Drive Me) Crazy," a full band kept the decibel level high while dancers flanked her every move, with well-timed fireworks adding a bit of extra oomph to her moments.

The party continued with "Stronger" and "What U See (Is What U Get)," with Spears atop a moving staircase in a sparkling pink cowboy hat . . . and a few more fireworks for good measure.

"From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" allowed everyone to catch their breath, audience included. The ballad even allowed a brave Jace to put his arm around Katherine's shoulders while swaying to and fro, singing along with every word.

"Born to Make You Happy" was the first of many Cher-like costume changes. "Lucky" brought matching sailor outfits all around, "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know" saw her in a gown draped down the length of a stairway, and she was hoisted high in the air for "The Beat Goes On," to show off a dress that looked like it was made from a multicolored parachute.

To help dispel the oft-publicized rumors that she lip-syncs her way through her shows, Britney punctuated lyrics with several high-pitched yelps reminiscent of Michael Jackson, as well as stopping abruptly in the middle of some tunes to, among other things, delve into Latin dance numbers. If she wasn't actually singing last night, she sure did an amazing job of making it look like she was.

"Don't Go Knockin' on My Door," a funked-up version of The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and the radio-friendly ". . . Baby One More Time" rounded out the show. Jace exuberantly shared that the latter was his favorite song "since he was 'little.' "

Glitter rained down on the crowd as Little Brit tore her schoolgirl outfit off to expose a more revealing one, and more fireworks shot out over the sold-out crowd. It would have been a great way to end the hourlong set.

But "Oops! I Did It Again" proved an even better encore, appeasing fans young and old. Britney and the rest — she in her sixth costume-change of the night — danced while dressed as flames in a raging fire.

It was an especially loud concert, filled with dancing, endless energy and smiles across the board.

Jace even saw fit to reveal his secret.

"I have a crush on Britney Spears," he effused, before covering his mouth and giggling. After all, he does have her poster on his bedroom ceiling and he looks at it every night.

And Katherine didn't see anything wrong with that.

E-MAIL: dmoody@desnews.com