She launched a short set with her classic "Baby One More
Time," using a cafe chair as a burlesque prop while she pranced
around the small club stage backed up by four dancers.
"She's so good!" yelled San Diego hairstylist Ally Murray, 29, as
Spears showed off her aerobic choreography. Spears sped through the
songs - all standards from her earlier albums - wrapping up after less than 15
minutes. She gave a shy goodbye before an old Madonna song came on over the
sound system. "Thanks everyone for coming," she told the packed club.
The comeback didn't hit a high note for everyone, some of whom paid upward of
$125 a ticket.
"It looked like she lip-synched her way through the whole thing," said a
disappointed Morgan Segall, 20, who flew in from San Francisco for
The performance, under heavy club security, was shrouded in mystery. The club
marquee advertised a show by "The M&Ms," and it wasn't until an hour after
the doors opened that a disc jockey mentioned Spears' name, prompting shrieks
from girls jammed in front of the stage.
Rumors of a Spears show had spread on the Internet and via
local radio stations late last week, prompting a run on tickets by die-hard
Spears' last concert tour ended in summer 2004. Earlier this year, she told
fans she hoped for career comeback.
"I look forward to coming back this year bigger and better than ever," Spears
wrote on her Web site in January, also noting she'd "been far from perfect."
"Whatever, we love her," said Raul Flores, 22, who waved a foam placard of his
favorite pop star at the club exit. "She's amazing."
She was seen going out with Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan after filing for
divorce from aspiring rapper Kevin Federline last November, just two months
after giving birth to their second child, Jayden James. The pair also have an
older son, Sean Preston, now 20 months.
The two reached a divorce settlement in March. At one point in the show,
Spears and her posse played at taunting a male dancer who, dressed in a natty
gray suit, looked vaguely like Federline.
The M&Ms had two other concerts scheduled at House of Blues venues in
Southern California - one in Anaheim on Wednesday and the other Thursday in