KYLIE MINOGUE T in the Park, Glasgow
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The Independent Culture
When Kylie Minogue interrupted her tea-time performance in Strathclyde County Park on Sunday to introduce "a very special guest", you clenched your teeth in anticipation of a sugary reunion with ex-boyfriend Michael Hutchence or perhaps Jason Donovan.

What actually happened was even stranger. "Why is Kyle canoodling with Beelzebub the Prince of Darkness?" thought the teenyboppers who had foolishly come expecting the 1988-model Minogue.

Those of us who recognise the vampiric Australian crooner Nick Cave, however, could be spotted by our open mouths and goggle eyes.

Yes, Kylie Minogue, her hair fashioned into an elegant auburn Barbarella, strutting around in a blue silk shirt that exposed her splendid naval, was holding hands with Nick Cave, who looked like a serial killer on day release.

The song was something really special: a moody doom-and-despair ballad, characteristic of Cave and brave of Minogue. They alternated verses, which was a pity as we never got to hear their voices intertwine - though their bodies did, the skyscraper-like Cave wrapping his arms a full three times around Kylie's microphone-stand frame.

The fans booed once the song was over, some at the shadow that Cave had cast upon their dazzling heroine but most out of jealousy - the duet had ended with another kiss and cuddle.

You were glad of the novelty.

There had been a tremendous opening of course. The euphoria that the first glimpse of Kylie-in-the-flesh prompts (like standing up and suddenly realising that you are very, very drunk) can keep you high for a good ten minutes anyway.

And she had started - with her eight-strong band laying into guitars, bongos and kitchen sinks - by pouting and prowling through a sensual Confide In Me. It demonstrated that songs that sprout like cysts from other compositions - in this case, Madonna's Justify My Love - can, with the proper care and refinement, assume a perfectly respectable shape of their own.

"Go on Kylie, give it some" she was encouraged. And give it some she did, wiggling her hips, getting her three backing singers jogging on the spot like a right little Miss Motivator and offering us the mic to sing the parts that she couldn't reach - which was a bit naughty. But eventually you wised up to the music - not just white soul but bad white soul.

On and on it went - extended funk jams here and belching bass lines there. Had each song been truncated, there would have been time for more standards such as Better The Devil You Know, which proved a triumphant finale and felt as fresh as a cold shower in the dense heat.

She may want to ignore her past hits but, when they outshine her present ones so brightly, it seems foolhardy, rather than admirable, to do so.

If the crowd were disappointed they didn't show it, though the erratic bouts of cheering and waving weren't for Kylie. It was just that the MTV camera was swoopping overhead, sending them gaga.

After the image switch and the attention that has been lavished on her by style magazines, it seems that Kylie's core audience is the same one that made her a star when she played Charlene on Neighbours - the people who wield gigantic inflatable mallets and ache to say: "Hello, mum!" on live television.