Monday, October 28, 2013

Kylie Comes To See Me, Sort Of

After more than 20 years of listening to Kylie Minogue’s albums, I’ve finally seen her in concert. It’s not that I’ve been passing on the chance until now- it’s just that she never toured the United States until 2009 and she’s never been anywhere close to this area until last weekend. When her second U.S. tour was announced this year, there were about a dozen U.S. venues such as New York City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Houston, LA, Atlanta and Fairfax, Virginia- about 8 miles from my house. How could I not go see her? I think the venue was picked simply to make me happy because I can’t figure out any other reason for her to appear there. Okay, maybe her shows require a certain type of auditorium because of the sets and that factored into things but still, eight miles from my house! So Saturday night found me at the Patriot Center at George Mason waiting for her to take the stage. I left work a little early and met John at my place around 5:30 and then we headed over a bit later, after talking poker and playing Angry Birds for a bit. Hey, the original plan was to meet our friend Trevor and his partner Matt for drinks or something but he blew us off, at least pre-show, so that he could go eat with other friends of his that were also going to the show.

John and I walked around the concourse for a bit and checked out the merchandise for sale but there was nothing either of us was eager to buy because A) it would be too embarrassing to walk out of the house wearing it and B) it was pretty pricey, like the $100 coffee table book or the $25 program. The crowd was pretty glamorous but there were a few straight people there- I saw at least nine of them, including me, John, Daniel (John’s brother) and Daniel’s fiancée. I wasn’t too sure about the security guard wearing red suede shoes though. I overheard one person saying to his friend “This crowd makes Cher’s audience look butch.” After going up to see Daniel and Hannah, we met up with Trevor after he texted me where he was sitting. John hadn’t seen Trevor for a decade or more so we chatted for a bit, particularly about music like Chicago, The Beautiful South and Huey Lewis- acts that Trevor liked back in college but now he was mostly into the Pet Shop Boys. When the show was about to start or at least until it sounded like the opening act, er… the DJ, was finishing up, we headed back to our seats. Fourth row up from the floor seats, with two empty seats just to our left so we had a great view, even with people standing up in front of us. The show was a spectacle, an event, a triumph, and it made me like the Aphrodite album even though I’d been kind of lukewarm to it prior to hearing the revamped, amplified versions of the songs they played at the show. Here’s the Washington Post’s review of the concert along with the setlist I texted myself throughout the show.

Australia’s Kylie Minogue Dazzles In Her Second Stateside Tour(By Megan Buerger, Washington Post, May 1, 2011)

It was a show of epic proportions. With Cirque du Soleil-style dancers, eight costume changes and a stage fit for a disco queen, Kylie Minogue’s Saturday night concert at the Patriot Center was an escape to another world. Another world, that is, where svelte Greek warriors wear feathers, the law of gravity is defied and calories (apparently) don’t exist. For her mythology-themed “Aphrodite — Les Folies” tour, Minogue pulled out all the stops. Given that the Australian starlet has been high on international pop charts for 20 years but has never quite won over the United States — this is her second stateside tour — the grandeur is entertaining, if a bit overdue.

And grand it was. The $25 million tour boasts three sprawling staircases, aerial acrobatics and a series of larger-than-life props including a Pegasus statue set among mighty Grecian columns. For Minogue, 42 and fit as ever, the stage was also a runway. Drawing as much attention as the special effects were her staggering Dolce & Gabbana custom gowns and elaborate headdresses. Opening with the title track from her 11th album, “Aphrodite” (2010), Minogue emerged from beneath the stage in a large shell a la Botticelli’s Venus. In keeping with the theatrical theme, she circled the stage in a chariot pulled by men in leather loincloths, sang a rock rendition of her U.S. hit “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” (2001) and, for the encore, layered her crew on a three-tiered cake stage for “All the Lovers” before sinking out of sight.

Minogue is proof that it pays to know your audience. A nod to her legion of gay fans, the evening was largely a homage to the male figure. Scantily clad dancers paraded the stage in gold armor while homoerotic images reminiscent of Abercrombie & Fitch ads flashed on video screens behind them. It takes a secure soul to throw caution to the wind and join this shimmying collective, but Minogue’s audience leapt aboard. The stadium was only half full, yet there wasn’t a still body in the house. It could be argued that the show was not particularly meaningful, and it wasn’t, but that was hardly the point. Where Minogue differs from American pop divas such as Lady Gaga and Madonna is that she takes herself less seriously. She, like her audience, was there to promote only one agenda: having a good time. Perhaps this explains her spirited gay following. Free from political statement or hidden message, Minogue is unapologetically true to herself.

Kylie Minoque- Aphrodite Tour
May 1, 2011 ($60.00- Patriot Center)

Songs From Album:

Carnival of the Animals intro (By Camille Saint-Saens)
1 Aphrodite Aphrodite
2 The One X
3 Wow X
4 Illusion Aphrodite
5 I Believe In You Ultimate Kylie
6 Cupid Boy Aphrodite
7 Spinning Around Light Years
8 Get Outta My Way Aphrodite
9 What Do I Have To Do Rhythm Of Love
10 Everything Is Beautiful Aphrodite
11 Slow Body Language
12 Confide In Me Kylie Minogue
13 Can't Get You Out Of My Head Fever
14 In My Arms X
15 Looking For An Angel & There Must Be An Angel (Eurthymics cover) Aphrodite

---- Band and dancers intro -------

16 Love At First Sight and Can't Beat This Feeling (Mashup) Fever
17 If You Don't Love Me (solo) Hits + (Prefab Sprouts cover)
18 Better The Devil You Know Rhythm Of Love
19 Come Into My World (snippet) Fever
20 Better Than Today Aphrodite
21 Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) Aphrodite

22 On A Night Like This Light Years
23 All The Lovers Aphrodite

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