Kylie Minogue, SECC, Glasgow
The queen of pop subdivides and rules
Monday 07 July 2008
Just days after receiving her OBE from Prince Charles for services to music, Kylie Minogue played the first of four arena dates in Glasgow on her KylieX2008 tour, to be followed by six in Manchester, four in Newcastle and seven at the O2 in London. The majority of rock groups would view such a schedule with awe, but Minogue doesn't only take such an enormous level of fame and support in her stride, she manages to make satisfying it look easy.
Doubtless she has become a keen businesswoman over the years. Huge amounts of money, time and labour have gone in to this show behind the scenes. But the singer's breezy presence as the face of the operation distracts the audience from such vulgar concerns through a two-and-three-quarter-hour set divided into halves. Further subdivided into eight separately themed and costumed segments, the event dwarfs any of Minogue's previous shows.
And it's a whole lot of fun, veering between sexy, sophisticated futurist pop and the cheesy Saturday night talent show aesthetic which captures an array of mums, dads and grandparents. These latter tableaux are the least satisfying of the show, including a rather obvious Beach Party segment, which includes Minogue as a sequinned sailor performing Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" and a merely pleasant version of her own "Spinning Around".
The other least endearing section saw Minogue take the stage on her own in an over-the-top electric blue evening dress to sing "Flower" and a ballad version of "I Believe In You", in a Celine Dion moment designed for older fans.
Who knows what this constituency made of "Like a Drug" and "Slow", whose minimal electro soundtrack and allusions to nightclub hedonism saw the singer lowered on stage atop a huge, crystal-effect skull. The Indiana Jones comparisons were minimal – the singer was clad in a red bellboy outfit (imagine a hen night themed around The Night Porter), while her dozen dancers sported leotards, torn suits, nipple pasties and weird bondage-style apparatus.
The Naughty Manga Girl section (featuring "Come Into My World" and some impressive gymnastics during "Sensitized") aped Gwen Stefani. The final Black and White set – which saw the cast, led by sex tsar Kylie, dressed in Russian revolution chic and rattling through "Your Disco Needs You", "Kids" and "In My Arms" – most precisely demonstrated her genre-hopping skills.
Finally, an unthemed solo encore slipped back to more innocent days with "I Should Be So Lucky". This song, more than most, exemplified the musical genre that Minogue does best – the genre called "Kylie".
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