I love a 42-year-old pop star like Kylie Minogue. She opens the doors at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom right at 7:15 p.m., gets the crowd warmed with a deejay, and at 8:40 kills the lights and ascends from the stage in a sparkling clam shell. Then goes on to belt out two hours of pop perfection. Finally embracing her American fan base, she’s back with her second tour of the States in less than two years, with a scaled-down version of the European and Australian legs of her Aphrodite Live 2011 tour.
Famous for scene-stealing costumes and themed acts, Minogue’s Aphrodite tour did not disappoint. In fact, I got two nights of it. It’s virtually impossible to leave this show unhappy. Ascending from the floor in the aforementioned clam shell, Kylie opened with the title track from her 2010 album, “Aphrodite.” Her screaming fans smiled adoringly as she embraced her inner goddess. She went on to cover “The One” and “Wow” from her last studio album, X.
Only Kylie can grace the stage riding a chariot carried by six scantily clad men singing “I Believe In You.” Even the little girl wearing a toga in the box behind me was mesmerized. She became somewhat of a sideshow in my corner of Hammerstein as she would sing with glee one minute, then erupt into tears the next. Darling, we get it. Then Kylie turned up the heat with “Cupid Boy.” Wearing a Moulin Rouge-inspired black feather gown and top hat, she played to her gay fan base with aerial cupids flying above, male dancers in flamboyant hats and images of her way-too-hot boyfriend, Andres Velencos Segura, projected overhead. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.
She continued with her back-up singers who she sweetly referenced as Salt ‘n Pepa with “Spinning Around,” co-penned by Paula Abdul, for those who care about songwriting credits. Then she pulled out the chairs for mimic the video choreography of her smash dance hit, “Get Outta My Way.” Such a blast, Ms. Minogue. She knows how to pull out all the stops. Other favorite moments included a slowed down, sexy rendition of “Slow,” off Body Language. Stunningly beautiful, Kylie is surrounded by her burlesque-esque female dancers and feather fans. So sultry and sexy until she kicked it up a notch to a throbbing dance beat. One of my favorite moments.
More hotness followed with “Confide In Me,” “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” and “In My Arms.” But it was “Looking For an Angel” off Aphrodite that got me excited, including three angels (aka male dancers) who ascend from behind the stage. This section of the show was initially a space theme, but rather than take us to space, she took us to church. In the biggest surprise of the night, Kylie went a little gospel with the Eurythmics’ 1985 single, “There Must Be an Angel (Playing With My Heart).” Such a different spin for Kylie, and I loved it.
Rounding out the night, she performed “Love at First Sight,” mashed up with “Can’t Beat the Feeling,” and her only ballad of the night, “If You Don’t Love Me.” Really? Like we don’t love you? Slightly pandering I think as it triggered, “Kylie, I love yous!” from everyone in the hall. Toward the end, Kylie loosened up and appeared in what I called her Dolly Parton look. Big blond hair, Daisy Dukes, thrashed wife beater and coat that looked like vintage Muppet. Loved it. “Better the Devil You Know” pursued, and then it was request time. Night 1: “The Locomotion.” Night 2: “I Should Be So Lucky.” I definitely felt lucky that I got to see her twice, and really interact with the crowd differently each night.
Before the encore, she got everyone’s hands up with her latest single, “Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love).” I felt the love. She returned with my other favorite moment of the night, and my favorite Kylie song, “On a Night Like This.” Again, new costume which reminded me of the original synchronized swimming godmother, Esther Williams. Wearing a chic swimming cap, Minogue coyly danced and sang, but brought it home with a heavy house beat. So hot. She ended it with the sensual, sexual “All The Lovers.” Perfection.