Kylie Minogue @ Bell Centre – April 28, 2011

Aussie pop singer Kylie Minogue kicked off the North American portion of her Aphrodite tour in Montreal last night.  It was actually the first show she had ever done in Montreal in her over 24 year career.  She acknowledged that it took her too long to get her, but the crowd did not seem to be holding it against her.

In the UK Miss Minogue is a huge star and while she is quite famous here it does not reach the same heights.  So the North American leg of the tour is stripped down from the show in she did in Europe.  But do not mistake that to mean that this is a small show.  The most elaborate Vegas show has nothing on Minogue.  The lady knows that people come to see her sets, dancers, wardrobe, and stage as much as they do to see her and hear her perform her songs.

Her voice is not fantastic, her dancing is not amazing and let’s face it her songs are not works of art.  That being said, very few pop acts have had the enduring career that she has.  Minogue released her first single in 1987 and is still going strong today.  Though some music critics have been quite harsh in their dismissing her as an empty pop product, I believe the 6,500 fans that were in the Bell Centre would disagree strongly.

The show, as the title would lead you to believe, stylistically is an ode to Greek mythology.  The famous Botticelli painting of the Greek goddess Aphrodite perched in a giant sea shell is how Kylie introduced herself to Montreal.  She started the show by emerging from a giant gold seashell that rose in the back of the stage.  On her ears were the white wings of a messenger (delivering us good dance music?), a while mullet toga and some sexy sparkly knee high gladiator sandals.  Several of her costumes throughout the evening were inspired by the Greeks.

Immense and elaborate are two words that can be used to describe Kylie’s stage.  It was also an extremely busy place with plenty to look at.  The backdrop was a Greek building complete with columns and areas where images of women swimming and men in various states of undress were projected.  That is where the four musicians stayed.  In front of that was a pair of large semi-circular staircases that she used several times to exit and enter the stage after one of her numerous costume changes.  The lighting was always changing, there were winged horses and aerial performers a la Cirque du Soleil.

Throughout this all the real star of the evening remained the petite Aussie.  She also sent out notice to other pretenders to her pop princess throne like Lady Gaga (who had played Montreal just three nights previous) and Katy Perry that she was still a woman to be reckoned with and was, at the age of 42, still looking to stay on top.

It was also obvious to me that this is a lady who knows who her audience is and caters to them.  Everything on the evening had the over-the-top look of gay disco at its best.  Lights, elaborate costumes, six packs (on the male dancers), and thumping beats.  She loves the gays and they love their Kylie.

My only complaint about the evening was the song choice.  As I mentioned this was her first show in Montreal and we did not get to hear songs like Wow, All I See, I Should Be So Lucky, In Your Eyes, or Come Into My World.  It was understandable, though, as a show like this is so tightly scheduled and heavily rehearsed that ad libbing or changing the set list is next to impossible.  So the show concentrated heavily on songs from her last album, Aphrodite.  Being the seasoned performer that she is (or maybe it was the jetlag as she had flown here from Japan) during the latter part of the show, she did take a couple of requests from the audience and performed two songs that were not originally on the set list: Your Disco Needs You and Better Than Today.  The two songs gave the evening a much needed rest from the tightly run show.

Kylie Minogue’s appeal has always been her expert juxtapositioning of sweet and sultry. On this evening she was always cute and friendly, but at times racy and provocative.  As a master of keeping her audience interested, she never crosses firmly over to one side or the other.

Set list:

1)      Aphrodite

2)        The One

3)       Wow

4)       Illusion

5)      I Believe in You

6)      Cupid Boy

7)      Spinning Around

8)      Get Outta My Way

9)      What Do I Have to Do?

10)  Everything Is Beautiful

11)  Slow

12)  Confide in Me

13)  Can’t Get You Out of My Head

14)  In My Arms

15)  Looking for an Angel

16)  There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart) (Eurythmics cover)

17)  Love at First Sight/ Can’t Beat the Feeling

18)  If You Don’t Love Me (Prefab Sprout cover)

19)  Better the Devil You Know

20)  Your Disco Needs You (Audience request)

21)  Better Than Today

22)  Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)

Encore:

23)  On a Night Like This

24)   All the Lovers

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