Kylie Minogue to have first date with Boston

By James Reed
Boston Globe Staff / April 24, 2011

Kylie Minogue jokes that she considered making a “Kylie 101’’ video for her upcoming North American tour. It’s an amusing idea because the United States is perhaps the last place in the world that needs a crash course in the Australian pop star’s long and celebrated career.

“We were trying to think how funny we could make it, acknowledging that [in America] it’s only my fanbase who really have a clue who I am and where I come from and what I do,’’ Minogue says recently in a one-on-one interview with the Globe. “Other than that, we might need a Kylie 101.’’

She might be right. A casual fan here probably knows Minogue from her two Top 10 radio hits — “The Loco-Motion’’ (1988) and then “Can’t Get You Out of My Head’’ arrived 14 years later — but that’s the extent of the dent she’s made, at least on the charts.

At 42 and on her first extensive tour of US cities, starting with Agganis Arena in Boston on Friday, Minogue is in an unusual position: She’s the global pop icon who’s on the verge of properly introducing herself to American fans who have adored — no, make that idolized — her from afar and for a very long time.

“I know it’s taken forever, but if it’s anything like the last tour, which was my first tour in the States, the welcome was just mind-blowing,’’ Minogue says. “I can’t wait to get there and share the show with you, share an evening.’’

That first US tour was in 2009, when Minogue tested the waters with a string of headlining shows in big cities such as New York and Los Angeles. If the tour’s scope was limited, it at least spoke volumes about her fans here.

“You are, in fact, fierce and mighty,’’ she says about what she learned from those shows. “I don’t have the numbers, I’m not across the board in the States like I am in other countries, but honestly, the noise levels, the excitement levels, the dedication — it was overwhelming. I loved it.’’

It’s astonishing to think Minogue will be making her Boston debut a full 23 years since her first album, “Kylie,’’ was released. The closest she has come to this city was in 2002 at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell for the multi-artist “Jingle Ball’’ tour. The Globe’s review of that concert noted, “Euro-pop princess Kylie Minogue attempted to turn pop into art during her set,’’ before singling out Destiny Child’s as the star of the show.

That was the year when “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,’’ an irresistible hit that lived up to its name, was in heavy rotation. Even though her commercial clout here peaked shortly after that, Minogue still wanted to give this market a go.

“I finally bit the bullet and said, if I don’t do this now, it’s not going to happen. But I needed to go and put on a show that is representative of where I am in my career and how I like to present things,’’ she says. “It was a beautiful experience. And now I’m coming back for more. So I’m making up for lost time.’’

Asked if that disconnect between the United States and the rest of the world has ever been frustrating for her, she’s thoughtful and forthright in her response.

“It’s frustrating being asked about it because it’s seen as a failure. Yes, it’s not a market that I’ve conquered by any means, but I love the fans that I do have there,’’ she says. “I love that against all of those pain-in-the-[expletive] obstacles, you have gone and bought an import, you have gone online and kept the faith, really. It’s because of that persistence that I did tour [in the States] in 2009.’’

Minogue’s new tour centers on last year’s “Aphrodite,’’ the latest entry in her repertoire of exuberant European dance pop. Its songs extol the virtues of losing yourself in the music, of finding solace in the beat; but that doesn’t mean the new tour is nearly as straightforward. Au contraire: It’s a hulking spectacle, with aerial performers, dancers, and an epic theme based on the myth of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality.

And just where does Minogue, who’s famously petite, fit in such a production?

“At the center, darling,’’ she says, letting out a girlish giggle that’s as sexy as it is knowing.

When Kylie Minogue mentioned she thought about making a “Kylie 101’’ video for her new tour, it got us to thinking about some of her most memorable moments over the years, most of which were gloriously over the top and distinctly Kylie.

Best album cover: “Kylie’’ (1988). Sure, that seductive pose Kylie struck on the original album cover for “Fever’’ — right arm up, microphone chord dangling — is classic, but “Kylie’’ is where it all began. She looks so innocent and wide-eyed, and that pile of hair earned the album a nickname when I was growing up: “Hair-Platter Kylie.’’

Best surprise: Duet with Nick Cave on “Where the Wild Roses Grow’’ (1995). Cave, a fellow Aussie and longtime admirer, had a great idea that must have sounded crazy at the time. Why not enlist Minogue to sing the female perspective on this creepy murder ballad? Playing the song’s victim, it proved she could dig deeper than dance pop.

Best display of world dominance: Sydney Olympics closing ceremony (2000). With millions watching around the globe, it was a clash of titans as Australia’s most beloved pop star — in full showgirl regalia — covered one of the biggest anthems of dance pop, ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.’’ It’s worth finding on YouTube.

Best movie cameo: The Green Fairy in “Moulin Rouge!’’ (2001). For everyone who didn’t know Minogue from her role on “Neighbours,’’ the popular Australian soap opera that helped to launch her career, “Moulin Rouge!’’ was our first introduction to Minogue outside of her music. As the Green Fairy, she appeared in an absinthe-induced fever dream, singing a chorus of “the hills are alive with the sound of music.’’ Trippy.

Best song that should have been a No. 1 radio hit in the US: “Slow’’ (2003). Taking style cues from French icon Brigitte Bardot, Minogue reinvented herself as a ’60s sex kitten for “Body Language,’’ her underrated follow-up to “Fever.’’ “Slow’’ was its slinky first single that suggested more than it ever revealed.

Best scene-stealing moment: With Justin Timberlake at the Brit Awards (2003). Before Timberlake was part of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, he was bumping and grinding behind Minogue as she one-upped him while singing Blondie’s “Rapture.’’ Their chemistry was magnetic, and Timberlake set tongues wagging when he grabbed her rump.

Kylie Minogue's first date in the US for "Aphrodite Live 2011" is Friday April 29th in Boston, MA, USA, at the Agganis Arena

A sample of some special Kylie moments from the 'Les Folies' tour, "On Stage with Kylie"...

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Jon said...

A great interview, and a cute perspective on Kylie moments - I am sure we have our own personal faves... Jx

Anonymous said...