Review: Kylie Minogue @ Hammerstein Ballroom

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I am a very bad homosexual. Last night, I was late — LATE — to catch Kylie Minogue’s first EVER American tour. In my defense, I assumed that, like me, Kylie would be working on gay time (the show was supposed to go on at 8:00 p.m., so I figured I’d be fine if I made it there by 8:30). But, by the time I rushed in at 8:20, I’d missed the entire first song. I was upset — until I got a brief glimpse of Kylie’s first outfit. It appeared to be a teddy covered in pink feathers. Needless to say, I knew things were headed in a good direction.

In the hierarchy of gay female pop icons (yes, one really exists), Kylie is definitely top 5. Factor in the European exchange rate and that puts her in the top spot in the UK. Now, I’ve seen Her Madgesty (Madonna) twice, and I just went to see the Princess (that’s Britney) this past March. They both put on a great show, but they also both played huge stadiums so the atmosphere — and, as a result, the shows themselves — felt a little generic. I was really high up too (I’m pretty sure I saw Madonna, but it honestly could’ve been a cross dressing bodybuilder).

With a smaller fan base here in the U.S., Kylie played more intimate venues in the States. Since there are no seats on the main floor, she transformed the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC into her own private dance party. The video screens were there, as were the backup dancers in all of their choreographed glory, but the show had a refreshing off-the-cuff feel to it. Kyle interacted with audience frequently, chatting with a self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that proves (to me, at least) she doesn’t take herself too seriously (at one point she cooed, “I’m going to catch a chill in here” before two male dancers appeared with a pink fur robe for her to put on — genius). There were no pseudo-artistic statements here — just fun, glittery costumes, ripped male dancers wearing very little clothing, and Kylie’s perfectly pop-tastic cannon of music.

Photo credit: The Music Slut

The crowd was your typical mix of gays and girls who love them — though, at one point, an elderly Dr. Ruth look-a-like pushed her way in front of me. And then there was the small redheaded child with the buzz cut that kept pumping his fists during “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.” Kylie’s voice sounded impressively unremarkable (I assumed that she’d be lip-synching, so I was impressed from the get-go) and she kept the energy high for most of the night. There was one touch-and-go section where she was draped on top of a couch singing (gasp) ballads. That would’ve been OK if I were in Vegas and she was Bette Midler — but I wasn’t, and she’s not. Thankfully, Kylie got back to what she does best (fast, danceable tunes with great hooks) soon after. But why *bore you with the music.

Onto the threads: They ranged from a silver corset (very dominatrix Rosie from The Jetsons) to a comparatively more casual ensemble of a black sequin cocktail dress — what I’d picture Kylie wearing to the grocery store to pick up her Nutella spread. The show itself went on for a solid two hours with three encores and, though I never would have imagined that Kylie Minogue would be a strong live performer, I was pleasantly surprised. The show was pure fun and, as the lyrics of one of her new songs asked, “What’s the point of living if you don’t want to dance?”

* The Setlist “Light Years” “Speakerphone” “Come Into My World” “In Your Eyes” “Shocked/”What Do I Have To Do”/”Step Back In Time”/”Spinning Around” “Better Than Today” “Like A Drug” “Boombox”/”Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” “Slow” “2 Hearts” “Red Blooded Woman” “Sex” “Heartbeat Rock” “Wow” “White Diamond” “Confide In Me” “I Believe In You” “Burning Up” “Vogue” “Locomotion” “Kids” “In My Arms” Encore: “Better The Devil You Know,” “The One,” “Love At First Sight”

Main image: via lecarlos