October 13, 2009

KYLIE MINOGUE - Hammerstein Ballroom - Sunday, October 11, 2009

When I purchased my ticket for Kylie Minogue on Craigslist, I had no idea that I would be seeing her first American Tour. I also didn't know I was so familiar with her music until I was at the show watching her perform. But mostly, I didn't know I would be seeing a really great entertainer. Yes, I am using the word "Entertainer" fully knowing that it is an old fashion word. I can't help it, there is no other way to describe a singer who knows that she is on stage to entertain , that she is there to be seen and that her job is to make sure the audience has a good time. On a holiday weekend, (Columbus Day) there ain't nothin' wrong with a little Las Vegas in New York.

You might be asking yourself, if he didn't know that much about Kylie Minogue, why buy a ticket? The answer would be that I watched many of her videos while doing cardio when I worked out at New York Sports Club & Crunch (I've moved on to hot yoga). I can't say I listen to her music at home or that I listen to her music on my portable mp3 player but I can say that I was intrigued. (Olivier Martinez may have been included in that intrigue but I'm not going to go there.)

The line to the Hammerstein Ballroom went all the way to 9th Avenue then circled back. By the time show started, the room was totally packed. I stood in line alone to get into Hammerstein, therefore I got to overhear the conversation from the guy behind me. He apparently had seen Kylie in Europe because he made comparisons to Madonna. He said that Kylie was more personable and relaxed on stage. He said Madonna basically hits her marks on stage but has no rapport with the audience. I later heard a more direct comparison during the show when a guy next to me said "Madonna needs to take notes!" Just as I was about done with hearing the "M" word, Kylie Minogue did the quasi-rap from the song "Vogue" as a scene set up. Ironic – I wonder if Kylie has insight into what people are thinking.

Albeit Kylie Minogue's first show in New York, the audience overwhelming loved her; it was apparent – hands down. There were two guys next to me through out watching the show. One of them told me they were 11 days clean and sober in their 12 step program and that they were making Kyle their higher power. (Sober from crystal meth but that didn't stop them from slappin' back the cocktails) After the show, as I was walking down 8th Avenue, I heard some guy tell his friends that Kylie was glowing. I guess we had good reason to adore her. I have never seen a performer in recent times look so relaxed on stage. She moved smoothly through a highly choreographed and somewhat strenuous show with ease. It was amazing and good fun to watch.

The evening was so gay I was looking for a white bubble above the crowd. I thought Glinda might be putting in an appearance. Prior to the show a DJ was on stage. If I wasn't sure that all my gay brethren were in the house, I was absolutely sure when what seemed like the entire audience sang along with Lady Gaga's "Just Dance." If you continue reading, it will be very apparent that Kylie is totally aware of her gay following.

The show started with an overture that includes the melodies from the Classic MGM movie Intro, West Side Story and The Wizard of OZ. Kylie made her entrance by standing on skull descending from the ceiling. She was wearing a silver kind of Barbarella outfit with a frilly coat over it. The pièce de résistance was her headpiece which mimicked the solar system with her head as the sun. During her entrance the dancers were moving underneath the skull wearing black fencing outfits which to me looked very Darth Vader. The choreography wasn't bad either.

After seeing the show I read that Kylie was doing a combination of prior shows she had done in Europe. Sunday night's show definitely had a "Best of " feel to it yet it felt as fresh as if it were set up specifically for her New York audience. The concert was a spectacle which consisted of different segments with different themes. The first segment seemed futurist, Kylie did songs like "Speakerphone" and later "Slow" with the dancers in there previously mentioned outfits holding florescent lights. Then there was a staged segment seemingly based on the decadent Berlin of the 1920s which later opened up to a window overlooking the NY skyline. A theatrical conflict took place between a waiter and Kylie while she sang the one slow ballade "Confide In Me" from an Art Deco love seat. Also included in this segment were arrangements of "I Believe in You" and her first hit "Locomotion."

The portion of the show that made the gay boys hearts flutter was a shower scene with buff male dancers and Kylie straddling a gymnast pummel horse. If there is one thing Kylie is good at, it is giving lots of T & A – emphasis on the "A." For her encores, Kyle came out in a sequined jumper. She made a point of turning around so the audience got the full effect. Kylie knows - her trunk ain't just another piece of luggage.

Oh dear! I've digressed. I forget that when I see a pop singers in concert that I should probably talk about their vocals. Okay. Do I think Kylie Minogue is a great vocalist? Not so much. Do I think she a good vocalist? Yes. Definitely. Once I bought a ticket to see her, I had to let go of the fact that her vocals sound like that of a little girl's pout. However, within the parameters of her own vocal sound she does sing well and she sings live!!

Kylie was backed by a keyboard player, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer who I never saw because he was not in my field of vision. There were also two background singers and a 3 piece horn section that both became part of the choreography. My one small quibble with Sunday's show was that the sound wasn't as good as it could have been. It may have been the interweaving of live musicians and prerecorded music that made it difficult to get a good sound balance. As often happens with performances of dance music, the sound goes to the land of reverberating mush. It wasn't too distracting but it was noticeable.

A week ago,I found out that Lenny Kravitz was in town the same time as Kylie Minogue, I could have kicked myself for having already purchased Kylie's ticket. But actually, I'm glad I got to see Kylie Minogue, I had a great time watching her. As for Lenny Kravitz, I'm sure he will be in town again. Hopefully, not at the same time as time as Kylie Minogue.

Set List -

-Light Years
-Speakerphone (remix)
-Come Into My World
-In Your Eyes
-What Do I Have to Do?
-Step Back In Time
-Spinning Around
-Better Than Today (new song)
-Like a Drug
-Can’t Get You Out of My Head
-2 Hearts
-Red Blooded Woman
-Where the Wild Roses Grow
-Heartbeat Rock
-White Diamond
-Confide In Me
-I Believe In You
-Burning Up
-Vogue (Madonna - spoken portion - "Ladies with an attitude...etc.)
-The Locomotion
-In My Arms

-Better the Devil You Know
-The One
-Love at First Sight



  1. Nice review Frank G. I wasn't at the show, but I walked past the Hammerstein Ballroom that night and I felt a little gayer by the time I got to 9th Avenue. I think Glinda was there.

  2. OMG Frank sorry I missed it sounds like it was great. You and I will absolutely have to go together next time! Thanks for the review very thorough...

  3. Hi Frank. Great review of the show. I was there too! And I'm glad you found my blog. it's good fun isn't it? I'm really enjoying it. I want to pair up with another guy who documents shows with photography.