SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Mega superstar Katy Perry brought joy, laughter and a few tears to the Santa Barbara Bowl Saturday night.
The Goleta native returned home for a special concert dubbed, Witness: Coming Home – A Benefit For The Community: Our Neighbors, Our Heroes. The sold out-show will benefit Santa Barbara area charities helping people affected by the Thomas fire and January mudslide.
Perry sat down with NewsChannel 3 for a one-on-one interview after Perry exited the stage, entertaining thousands of fans, and then taking time to pose for pictures during a meet and greet.
"We wanted to put together a heart healing moment, just be a small little thread to help connect the pieces of Santa Barbara again," Perry told reporter, Alys Martinez.
Perry said she wants to give back to the place where she grew up and created so many fond memories.
"It's about the spirit of the community and coming home and letting them know they have a friend in me, an ally in me and I'm their neighbor just like anyone else," Perry said. "Real change starts right outside your doorstep."
Part of that change and healing is coming from the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, a non-profit working to dig out, clean up and re-beautify Montecito from the the ground up.
The group was present at the show, wearing their signature red T-shirts, and watched along with the crowd as a moving video tribute by Montecito resident-Oprah Winfrey honoring their tireless efforts played on a big screen on stage.
"You know I still see them. It's amazing driving around, I get to see them in their lines with their buckets," Perry said. "I spoke with Oprah and she spoke specifically about The Bucket Brigade and how inspirational it was for her."
Perry said change is always brought about by "the people."
"The people do have the power. That is the end of it," she said. "The people always have the power. There is a situation and the people change it."
The show had many lighthearted moments, including when Perry brought out the infamous, "Left Shark." She also name checked some of her friends, and family in the crowd, along with some of her favorite places to frequent, including East Beach Tacos and Blenders in the Grass.
Perry performed most of her greatest hits: Dark Horse, Chained to the Rhythm, Teenage Dream, California Girl, Roar and her very first hit, I Kissed A Girl, as people sang along.
There were also precious and heart wrenching moments, most notably felt in the finale.
Mudslide survivor Lauren Cantin, backed by the Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble Theatre, sang Perry's hit Firework, which Perry says is a song of redemption.
"It didn't even dawn on me when she was singing the lyrics to the song that she had lived those lyrics," Perry said. "Some of the lyrics are, "Do you ever feel already buried deep? Six feet under scream. But no one seems to hear a thing," Perry said. "She lived that and she survived it."
Perry said, her hope is that people walked away from her show feeling a sense of "oneness".
"We can be an example," Perry said. "You know we can be a small but effective example to unite and live as one."