Live Review: Kylie Minogue at the Hollywood Bowl
View more photos in Timothy Norris' slideshow, "Kylie Minogue @ Hollywood Bowl."
Who: Kylie Minogue
Where: Hollywood Bowl
It's been just about ten years since Kylie Minogue released "Can't Get You Out of My Head," the monumental global hit that went on to become one of the inescapable dance tunes of the first decade of the century and reignited interest in the Australian pop star in the United States. One might assume, then, that when Minogue burst into a fast, rocked out version of the song Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl, it would have been the biggest hit of the night.
It wasn't. In fact, the song that followed "Can't Get You Out of My Head"-- "In My Arms," co-written and co-produced by Calvin Harris and featured on her 2007 album X-- that drew an even greater roar from the crowd.
With more than twenty years of music under her belt and a score of songs that fall under the love-on-the-dancefloor school of lyrics, Kylie Minogue is a bona fide dance pop goddess everywhere, Los Angeles included. This wasn't the sort of show where you sit around wait for that one song that everyone inside a large amphitheater knows. There was no single moment that would have stood out during the concert for everyone there. Instead, there was a general feeling that every song she performed and every costume change she made (there were a lot of those, we lost count) meant something to someone at the Bowl.
Below are the highlights of our night.
Minogue, whose latest album and tour is titled Aphrodite, made an entrance fit for Mt. Olympus. As the tour intro played, images of well-built men underwater were projected on the backing screens and dancers in toga-styled outfits slowly filled the stage. Two women appeared in white gown on two large staircases. The title track off Minogue's latest album soon filled the amphitheater. We could hear Minogue, but couldn't see her until a golden shell arose from the center of the stage. There she was, looking every bit as we might imagine the ancient Greek goddess of love. She was quickly flanked by exceptionally good looking men who accompanied her on the journey down a third staircase.
And, did we mention that there were aerial performers too?
Yes, it was a spectacle. Some might call it ridiculous, and maybe it is, but if you're the sort of person who appreciates over-the-top performances and grand entrances, as I am, then it doesn't get much better than this.
"I Believe in You"
"I Believe in You" is Minogue's collaboration with members of the Scissor Sisters, which appeared on her 2004 singles collection Ultimate Kylie. It's a dreamy disco number that, unlike many of her songs, wasn't drastically altered for the live performance. Minogue appeared in a glittering, ethereal dress that recalled the white gown she wore in the opening of the "I Believe in You" video. In keeping with the Aphrodite theme, Minogue performed in a chariot led by several men as one walked behind and occasionally fanned her.
Taken from her 2003 album, Body Language, "Slow" hit as minimal techno was making waves at clubs. The original is a seductive and adventurous dance track that plays upon the spare grooves that were packing dance floors at the time. Live, though, Minogue turned it into a burlesque show-friendly jazz number. She was surrounded by corseted female dancers who maneuvered oversized, fanned feathers. Just as the audience thought the song had ended, Minogue purred a few lyrics into the microphone, the dancers removed their corsets and "Slow" very quickly morphed into an electro jam.
"There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)"
The hot guys theme of Minogue's show peaked with her cover of the Eurythmics' hit "There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)," when the singer, now wearing a gold minidress, appeared with a shirtless man wearing angel wings.
Minogue's cover was also one of the most rousing moments of the night, a big, soulful dance number that showcased her singing abilities. It was a song so powerful that it felt like it should have been the end of the concert. However, there was more, a lot more.
Minogue doesn't shy away from playing her older material in concert and updated versions of songs like "Better the Devil You Know" went over really well with the crowd. But "The Loco-Motion," a cover song that became one of her earliest hits and her best known song in the U.S. until "Can't Get You Out of My Head" was an unexpected delight.
Towards the end of the show, Minogue had asked for requests from the crowd. It was "the power of mime," she said, that prompted her to play "The Loco-Motion." Judging from the enthusiastic response of the crowd, we're not the only ones who still have their cassette copies of her debut album.
Some fans dressed for the occasion
"All the Lovers"
Minogue ended the show with a sci-fi Esther Williams encore that was perhaps even more outrageous than anything leading up this moment. For "On a Night Like This," from Light Years, footage of synchronized swimmers played behind the performers. Dancers were decked out in silver sequined robes and Minogue wore a beaded ensemble with her hair covered in what resembled a swim cap. But that was nothing compared to "All the Lovers."
Minogue drew from the video for her first single off Aphrodite for this rendition of the song, with dancers stripped down to flesh-colored basics either surrounding her or paired up for the final aerial routines and images of couples kissing playing in the background. A sweet synthpop number seemingly made for singing along with your friends in the car or club, "All the Lovers" is clearly the big hit off Aphrodite and the only fitting way to close the show. "All the Lovers" has the kind of hopeful and endearing quality you want to want to stay with you after your trying to get out of the Hollywood Bowl. We couldn't get the song out of our heads as we walked with the massive crowd towards the Hollywood Bowl shuttles. In fact, the melody is still stuck in our minds almost a day later. Undoubtedly, Kylie Minogue left the crowd on a high note and we'll be remembering this show for a long time.
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