Aphrodite Live: New York City

Kylie receives some big New York City love during her three packed shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom...

Another amazing review by Scott Harrah at stagezine.com

Australian pop superstar Kylie Minogue delivered more glitz, over-the-top choreography, and razzle-dazzle spectacle than one might see in most Broadway or Las Vegas shows in the opening night of her three-day “Aphrodite Live 2011” concert tour in New York City, just one stop of many as she travels across North America (including the USA, Canada, and Mexico) with her troupe of muscle-bound acrobats, dancers, backup singers, and band to show everyone on this side of the Atlantic why she is considered an icon elsewhere in the world. “Aphrodite Live” is her second tour of North America; she was here in 2009 for a sold-out whistle-stop of small venues in major U.S. cities and Toronto, Canada.

At age 42, having survived many career ups and downs and a much-publicized battle with breast cancer (she has, thankfully, been cancer-free for five years now), Ms. Minogue still has her gorgeous looks, bubbly persona, and the lovable, high-pitched pop pipes that established her as a recording legend more than two decades earlier when she branched out into music after starring as Charlene on the Aussie soap opera, Neighbours (at one time the highest-rated TV show in the United Kingdom).

“Aphrodite Live” is a scaled-down version of the "Folies" show that Ms. Minogue performed in stadiums across Europe earlier this year. Although the North American version does not include such things as the water fountains that splashed over Kylie fans across the pond, the Down Under Diva certainly packed enough high-tech visuals into the two-hour performance to more than please her American audience.

She started out with the song “Aphrodite,” the title track from her top-selling 2010 album in the USA. Ms. Minogue arrived on a giant clam shell that rose to the stage, with her clad in a Greek goddess gown (her outfits were designed by Dolce and Gabbana, and she made too many costume changes to keep count of, but half the fun of seeing the Princess of Pop is wondering what fabulous frock she’s going to wear next). Many touches that made references to Greek mythology were included in the show, from a chariot to a marble statue to the horse Pegasus (which Kylie climbed rode on top of during one of her numbers). From start to finish, the show was a delight for the eyes, with video screens showing Kylie in outrageous makeup and fashions, acrobats hanging from the ceiling, and dancers and backup singers everywhere. At any given time, there must have been 15 or more people onstage (this reviewer lost count), but the focus was always on Ms. Minogue, flawlessly belting out tracks from Aphrodite as well as her classics.

Besides “Get Outta My Way,” “Put Your Hands Up” and other hits from her most recent album, Ms. Minogue treated her fans to her standards, from “Spinning Around,” “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” a swing/jazz rendition of “Slow,” “Wow,” “Love At First Sight,” “Come Into My World” and “Confide in Me” to some of her Stock Aitken Waterman oldies like “Better the Devil You Know” and “What Do I Have to Do?”

She also performed some amazing covers, including Annie Lennox’s “There Must Be An Angel Playing With My Heart,” with her backup singers belting out the song’s chorus like something out of Motown back in the day. Another highlight was her cover of Prefab Sprout’s “If You Don’t Love Me,” done beautifully as a ballad (the song is actually included on one of her lesser-known albums from the 1990s).

At one point, Ms. Minogue took requests, and did her first-ever hit and self-described “guilty pleasure,” “The Locomotion” (the song that started it all back in the late 1980s). There was not enough time to perform all her hits—there are too many to count for us die-hard Kylie fans—but she closed the show with a high-camp rendition of her international classic “On a Night Like This,” complete with video screens showing Esther Williams-style swimmers while Kylie donned a sparkly Dolce and Gabbana swim cap and her backup dancers frolicked around her in high-collared suits that looked like something out of the Broadway musical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard.

The finale was the first single from last year’s Aphrodite, “All The Lovers,” her techno-disco hit that is a plea for acceptance of love of all types. When she was finished, the audience was sprayed with glitter, and gave her a standing ovation that lasted for minutes.

In Britain and her native Australia, Ms. Minogue has been given many monikers by the press over the years, from “the Singing Budgie” to rather snarky nicknames often reserved for members of the Royal Family and other celebrities. Just like Madonna is called “Madge” by many Anglos worldwide, Ms. Minogue is affectionately called “Our Kyles” in the UK and Australia because she is so adored by both Brits and Aussies. Now, in her second North American tour in two years, Americans can also call the pint-sized diva “Our Kyles” because she has finally, after years of obscurity on this side of the Atlantic, shown us Yanks here in the Colonies that hers is an extraordinary talent, and she never fails to entertain both new and old fans alike.

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