Superstar Katy Perry performs at the Dubai Airshow Gala Dinner at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai on 10th November, 2015. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Katy Perry spoke some home truths to the crowd at the Dubai Airshow Gala: You’re all pretty successful wheeler-dealers, she told them after opening her show with her empowerment hit, Roar. (Thinking about it, most of her songs are empowerment hits. But this one especially.)

But being an older, suit-and-tie-clad aviation executive doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time, the singer said, crouching down to help a rather bewildered audience member loosen his tie.

She got heads nodding in agreement when she guessed many in the invitation-only audience for the event in the Asateer Garden overlooking Atlantis, on the Palm, had children at home that were very, very jealous of their parents.

“They don’t know what a Boeing is. But they know what a Katy Perry is. Have fun. For the children.”

Not that the crowd needed any encouragement, despite being in black tie and evening gowns, and likely fatigued from several days of wheeling and dealing at the Dubai Airshow.

Even before she hit the stage (but after finishing off their dinner of beef fillet to the sound of Britain’s Got Talent alums Jack Pack’s Sinatra tunes) people were milling around the large stage, awaiting her performance.

Women with updos jostled for space at the barrier like they were 15 again, and tux-clad men blocked the view trying to get a selfie with the world’s richest female musician (as named by Forbes last week).

Clad in a night-sky print leotard and skirt combo (by Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One, who has dressed her for her California Dreams world tour), and with the help of six backing dancers — three female, three male — Perry worked her way through all her hits.

On the more athletic ones, it did appear she was supported by a backing track. Nonetheless, the performance was stellar — bouncy dance moves, fist-pumping songs and plenty of silliness.

By silliness, I mean sharks, of course. (Of course!) Those dancing blue sharks from her Superbowl performance put in an appearance near the end of the night, after she had given us her upbeat side: I Kissed A Girl, Teenage Dream, California Gurls, E.T., Dark Horse, How We Do and Last Friday Night (sadly, only a snippet of that last one, although I am guessing there would have been more than a few Kenny G fans in the crowd).

Things turned saucier when she asked if anyone was celebrating their birthday, which led in an interaction with a British air force serviceman from Newcastle (cue Perry’s British accent) and some banter about Elvis that Perry cut off before it could become really off-colour. She then serenaded him with, what else, Birthday.

Perry has an incredible live voice, which we got to hear in a stripped-back Unconditionally (she also had a band with her) before things picked up for the last song, Firework, accompanied by actual fireworks to close out the night.

Perry’s performance also marked the launch of a new initiative called MusicDXB, featuring performances from international artists at Dubai International Airport. The first one is on November 11, by Jack Pack.