Kylie Minogue, SECC, Glasgow

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The Independent Culture

The starlit express that is Kylie Minogue's Showgirl tour of 2005 made the first of an astonishing 23 UK stops in Glasgow last week, to a fanfare of press hysteria and speculation, not least about her John Galliano corset - which she later denied had a 16in waist. Completely lost in the furore was any interest in her music.

The starlit express that is Kylie Minogue's Showgirl tour of 2005 made the first of an astonishing 23 UK stops in Glasgow last week, to a fanfare of press hysteria and speculation, not least about her John Galliano corset - which she later denied had a 16in waist. Completely lost in the furore was any interest in her music.

Since Kylie made the jump from Neighbours actress to girl-next-door pop princess, nearly two decades ago, soap stars from Jason Donovan to Jennifer Ellison have tried to convince us that their first love was music. More insidiously, the dawning of the Kylie era saw the stars' music taking second place to what they looked like, who they were dating and what diet they were on. We can't lay all the blame at Kylie's door, but at least media monoliths such as Michael Jackson, Prince or Madonna could be relied upon to approach pop greatness each time they released a single in the Eighties.

As this enormous, extravagant, occasionally mesmerising but often soulless spectacle proves, Kylie's oft-celebrated reinventions have tended to be a lurch in the direction of public opinion rather than a confident stride to the next level. For every great song she has performed in her career there are at least two stinkers, and no amount of fawning over the fact that she (and her much-lauded backside) look stunning at the age of 36 can change that.

Her arrival on stage in that corset and a peacock-feather headdress for the punchy "Better the Devil You Know" was an entrance worthy of a star, but there were moments during the two-hour show that Girls Aloud could have done better. The forthcoming single "Giving You Up" is passable but "Shocked" and "Spinning Around" are forgettable dance-pop routines, out of their league as anything but high-street muzak. Even the more celebrated "Slow" was revealed as a flaccid dirge, while "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" was always excruciating.

Kylie's career may not be on a steady trajectory, but there have been moments of inspiration. Amid myriad costume-changes - from negligée to sequined micro-dresses - they stood out again here, from the kitsch "I Should Be So Lucky" to the minimally austere "Can't Get You out of My Head", by way of her best song, "Confide in Me". Essaying "The Locomotion" as a breathy, seductive night-club flirtation or singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and "Come into My World" as misty-eyed lullabies while perched atop a hanging crescent moon, also held the interest. The pink pound is a lot to do with her success and her performance of "Red Blooded Women" surrounded by showering, exercising men bashed it home with a hammer.

Where her traditional audience of gay men and pre-teen girls might have felt they had got their money's worth, the rest of us hoped for at least a little individuality and interaction among the fallow moments. But it looks like she got away with it; the spectacle of costumes and dance routines camouflaged the passages of musical tedium.

Touring to 30 May

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