A lavish yet knowing show highlights the key to Kylie’s enduring popularity as she embarks on her mammoth Kiss Me Once tour
Earlier this week, Kylie – now famous enough to drop the Minogue surname – confessed to anxieties about her return to live performance. You can’t help wondering what someone who has been at the top of pop for more than 25 years can possibly have to fear. That her mammoth Kiss Me Once European tour only includes one night in Lithuania? Or that one of the confetti cannons employed on this opening night will malfunction and blast her into the Mersey? In fact, the only hint of a departure from the script comes when the singer misses a vocal cue and instantly improvises: “How do you feel, Liverpool?”
Liverpool feels great, because the star is whisking them to the biggest disco in town, complete with dancers in foam robot outfits, lasers and trapdoors. One minute, Kylie’s singing in a hot tub and emerging wearing a little red heart; the next, she reappears sporting what looks like a weather vane on her head.
The show’s sex factor – in the form of leather boots and nearly-nude male dancers – is delivered with an eyebrow raised knowingly at the ludicrousness of it all. “Let me see you Sexercise!” yells Kylie, bouncing on a gym ball and sounding as if she’s just been employed by a shopping channel to sell a particularly painful-looking fitness contraption.
However over the top it gets, the show is minimal enough to focus the attention on her charisma and music. There are genuinely great records (Spinning Around, Slow, Can’t Get You Out of My Head), under-heralded stompers (the Abba-esque Your Disco Needs You), and she’s not too snobby to ignore I Should Be So Lucky, the Stock, Aitken Waterman-era bubblegum that started it all. It defies belief that she is 46 and has endured a bout of cancer, but the secret of her longevity is obvious: everyone, including the artist, exits grinning from ear to ear.
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