NEW ORLEANS: Britney Spears fans lined up outside the New Orleans Arena hours before the start of the pop star''s first concert tour in five years.

They bought T-shirts at red-and-white striped tents set up outside the arena where Spears'' "Circus" tour was to getting under way.

The "Circus" tour, which takes Spears to 27 cities in the United States before heading to Europe in June, is the pop star''s biggest opportunity to connect with her still formidable fan base.

The tour is to feature a mix of her new material and some of the hits that made her one of the world''s top-selling artists.