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Kylie Minogue at Palau Sant Jordi.
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Kylie, Odyssey Arena June 30th 2008
"WowWowWowWow" sang Kylie in one of her recent singles, and really, I couldn't have put it better myself! Four sell-out nights at the Odyssey Arena - Ireland's biggest indoor arena, concert capacity: 14,000... you do the math!
Having released her tenth album, X, at the end of last year, the diminutive pop princess is as successful ever, and at forty, shows no signs of slowing down. With a dazzling array of costume and theme changes it was a breathtaking show.
Following her split from Stock Aitken Waterman in the early 1990s Kylie attempted to reinvent herself, turning her back on her pop past and releasing the experimental (comparitively - we're not talking Einstuerzende Neubauten here) "Impossible Princess" album. Sales nosedived and the title was removed following the untimely death of Princess Diana. Following a couple of wilderness years, and taking inspiration from the proliferation of French dance acts dominating the charts (Modjo, Stardust, etc) she embraced dance music again and went straight to the jugular with "Spinning Around" (whose lyrics now, more than ever sound like a statement of intent: "I'm through with the past /Ain't no point in looking back /The future will be /And did I forget to mention that I found a new direction /And it leads back to me") One 50p pair of gold hotpants later and she was back on top again. She has since joined that elite group alongside Madonna and U2, where a Top 10 place is all but guaranteed for whenever a new single is released.
The material is mostly culled from the last four albums, although she does find time to revisit "Shocked," "Step Back in Time" and a show-stopping, irony-free rendition of "I Should Be So Lucky" from SAW days, and it's a testament to the quality of pop on offer, that she can afford to do "Can't Get you Out of My Head" as the second song... By the end, I almost forget she hasn't done "Better the Devil You Know" or "Confide in Me"
The visuals are something else: I'm reminded of "Scary Monsters"-era Bowie, Kraftwerk, "Rio"-era Duran Duran, Disney's Tron... At one point ("Like a Drug") she descends from the ceiling atop an enormous metallic skull, whose presence looms heavily over the stage for the following "Slow" like a reminder of the cancer she was diagnosed with several years ago. She gets on with the show and eventually it fades away, never to return. "Loveboat" segues seamlessly into Barry Manilow's "Copa Cabana" in a show of arch-campness that even Erasure's Andy Bell might scoff at (I said "might...") She sings "Kids" as a trio with her backing singers, Dawn and Roxy, and Robbie's presence wasn't missed (although, I'm sure if she asked for a male volunteer from the audience to sing, there would have been no shortage of suitors!)
She does a version of "I Believe in You" with just a piano for backing and, for the first time, I realise the poignancy of the title. It could be an ode to a deity, a lover, her audience, whomever...only she will ever know, but the beauty of the performance is touching, and she brushes a tear from her right cheek at the end.
Nothing left, but to say Thanks, Kylie and Here's to the next twenty years... ;-)
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