Thursday, January 4, 2007

Gig review: Kylie's glittering homecoming

What a strange thing it is to attend a Kylie Minogue concert. Middle aged men with beer bellies pump their fists in the air, victoriously singing I Should Be So Lucky. Bespectacled geeks dance like assistant ministers to Spinning Around. And the gays clasp their hands to their faces as if they've just witnessed Christ emerging from the tomb, alebit in a leopard-skin catsuit.

But Kylie is quite deserving of this surreal devotion. The Showgirl Homecoming concert proves time and time again why she has become a national treasure. It kicks off in high spirits with Better The Devil You Know - sounding surprisingly suited to an Arena-sized gig - and the pace doesn’t let up for almost two-and-a-half hours, although that includes the interval Kylie has introduced following her treatment for breast cancer last year.

An early highlight is a bhangra version of Confide In Me, with Kylie acting as a marionette controlled by her dancers. The intricate choreography, reminiscent of the slow, deliberate motions of Tai Chi, provides what is easily the best dance routine of the night. The song, too, asserts itself as one of Kylie's less-celebrated classics.

But not every moment lives up to this promise. Several of the dancers seem under-rehearsed, and Kylie's voice is occasionally a little shrill. Nonetheless, the sheer spectacle of the evening more than excuses the odd sloppy detail. At one point, the mini minxstress floats above the stadium on a mirrored crescent moon (so much more respectable than a crucifix, dontchathink?) Later, she gains a pair of gargantuan technicolour wings. There's no clever subtext, as far as I can tell, it's just that Kylie wanted to be a very pretty butterfly.

And that's partly what this concert is about - wish fulfilment for the self-proclaimed Showgirl Princess. "This is my dream," she proclaims during the finale, and it does seem that the costumes, the staging, the setlist (which features several album tracks from her not-so-popular mid-90s albums), the naked men and, presumably, the adulation are exactly as Kylie wants them.

Given everything she's been through, it's hard to deny her this semi-indulgence. It's all done with great affection for the fans - whom she encourages to duet with her on a karaoke version of Especially For You, a song whose lyrics have taken on a whole new meaning in the past 18 months.

And, more than the songs, more than the portraits, more than the iconography, it's Kylie's relationship with her fans that cements her position as a national treasure. At one point, she pulls three young girls out of the audience and lets them sing Can't Get You Out Of My Head. Our Kylie isn’t aloof or distant like Madonna - and the fans at Wembley last night were celebrating the singer's recovery as much as she was - because they'd all been through it, too.

Better The Devil You Know
In Your Eyes
White Diamond
On A Night Like This

Shocked / What Do I Have To Do? / Spinning Around - Medley
[This section also included elements of Keep On Pumpin’ It, I'm Over Dreaming (Over You), Ce Ce Peniston's Finally, Brothers In Rhythm's Such A Good Feeling, Step Back In Time, What Kind of Fool and Do You Dare?]

Confide In Me
Cowboy Style / Finer Feelings
Too Far

Red Blooded Woman / Where The Wild Roses Grow

- Intermission -
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Come Into My World
I Believe In You

Burning Up / Vogue
The Loco-motion
I Should Be So Lucky
Hand On Your Heart

Encore 1
Can't Get You Out Of My Head
Light Years / Turn It Into Love

Encore 2
Especially For You
Love At First Sight

  • Setlist via the ace Kylie fan site Limbo

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