It's hard being a Kylie Minogue fan in America. My enduring relationship with Ms. Minogue began when I was 17 and she broke Stateside with the already international blockbuster Fever (2001). My musical romance only increased through the years, as evidenced by my massive collection of her work. Her 22 year span rivals that of Madonna in terms of reinvention, placing her as the original "pop princess," sorry Britney. That said, she hasn't been able to crack the U.S. scene, our loss really.
Imagine my glee when I received an e-mail notification announcing her first North American/Canadian tour. Immediately, I snatched up my ticket for her October 7th, 2009 Chicago gig, the closest to yours truly in Dayton, Ohio. Only a clutch of major U.S. cities, and one major Canadian city, were to be visited by the pop pixie. Minogue discussed that the For You, For Me Tour was to include the best segments of her globe spanning tour spectacles from 2000 through 2008. Of course these segments would be subject to some changes so they'd be slightly recognizable to the faithful, but fresh to the uninitiated.
Last Wednesday evening at the University of Illinois Pavilion Center, amid a sea of gay men (varied in age and color), women, curious students, and a few international supporters, Minogue graced the stage atop her gigantic glittering skull to the Euro-thump of "Light Years."
Minogue established right off that she was an approachable pop performer who combines arena theatrics with live craft. Her intense live version of her creative milestone "Confide in Me," was beautifully delivered. Additional highlights that showed off Minogue's skills included her acapella rendition of "Your Disco Needs You" from Light Years (2000), it received a rapturous applause from the crowd. "Better Than Today" had Minogue belting out with attitude to the '70's kissed groove of the track. The song is from the sessions for her currently unnamed 11th studio project, in the works now.
The whole of the setlist had a mixture of songs from her S.A.W. days ("What Do I Have to Do," "Shocked") as well as her recent material: "2 Hearts," "Can't Get You Out of My Head," "In Your Eyes," "Slow," etc. Noticeably absent, outside of the mentioned "Confide in Me," was fare from her mid-period albums Kylie Minogue (1994) and Impossible Princess (1997), arguably her finest era and my favorite. To be fair, she has covered this period well on her last two shows. It just would have been nice to have seen those songs featured Stateside, but Minogue satisfied the mass of of her audiences with her setlist selection.
The songs shined with a full band, featuring a three-piece brass section and two backing vocalists. Complimented by a diminutive crop dancers of all colors and genders, Minogue had plenty of support, but led all of the elements with poise and control. Minogue's own stage presence allowed her to break into a few dance steps, but she relied on her singing, immaculate costuming, and charm to sell herself. All of this was hosted on a modern stage set with one of the best laser shows ever witnessed.
Kylie Minogue Departing Chicago, 10/7/09
At two hours, the show rolled smoothly with the crowd wildly attentive, a success! Kylie Minogue is the type of pop music icon that America simply doesn't make and to see her (finally!) in the flesh was truly an experience. The rest of America "should be so lucky."-QH
[Editor's Note: For more information on Kylie Minogue, and her remaining live dates, visit http://www.kylie.com-QH]