Monday, May 16, 2011
Billboard.com reviews 'Aphrodite Live 2011'
For the unaware U.S. pop fan, Kylie Minogue's first show of a three-night run at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom would appear to be an overindulgent spectacle. A two-hour running time, multiple costume changes, a golden Pegasus on stage and half-naked dancers suspended in air -- isn't this the "Loco-Motion" and "Can't Get You Out of My Head" two-hit wonder?
Of course, Minogue's faithful know better, and were out in droves on Monday night (May 2) to celebrate an international star whose back catalog has never received its deserving embrace from the stateside mainstream.
Yes, Minogue played "Can't Get You Out of My Head" (with a crunchy rock twist, no less), but the set list was littered with equally infectious dance tracks, from "In My Arms" to "Wow," to which her diehard fans knew every word. It also leaned heavily on Minogue's last album, 2010's "Aphrodite," but the epic "Looking For an Angel" and triumphant set-capper "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)" fit in nicely with the rest of Minogue's oeuvre. "All The Lovers," which Minogue used to close the night as confetti rained upon the crowd, transformed from an uneven album opener to an unstoppable anthem within the blink of an eye.
As much as the songs popped, Minogue was buoyed by an eye-catching set design that involved a trio of staircases, huge white pillars and a massive HD video screen that showed images like raindrops in the shape of hearts. Each song carried its own clever theme, with dancers dressed as Roman warriors during one song and Arabian slaves the next.
Minogue, to her credit, kept pace with the theatrics, gyrating alongside her backup dancers and forcing the high notes to hit the rafters. Monday night proved that, at 42, Minogue is still an under-appreciated musical force, and one that should not be missed on an all-too-rare U.S. trek.