Kylie rocks London as she gives a world-class peformance to 50,000!
by Christopher Smith
Kylie Minogue gave the performance of a lifetime last night (9th September) as she gave a demonstration of a world class performer at the top of her profession to an assembled crowd of over 50,000 people in London’s Hyde Park.
Kylie was the star turn of BBC Radio 2’s annual Festival In A Day live event that already had The Manic Street Preachers, All Saints, Rita Ora, Lenny Kravitz, Boyzone and many others on the bill. With eight hours of non-stop music, it was bound to be an exhausting day for all and with perfect weather, the masses settled in to an afternoon and evening of classic hits, new songs and some surprises. It was probably advisable to get their early if you wanted a good position (I won’t say what time I got there!) but stage side brought you up close and personal with everyone that came out.
And BBC Radio 2 didn’t disappoint either. With Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo as compares, along with support from Sara Cox, Gary Davies, Jeremy Vine, Chris Evans and even Anneka Rice (I wonder who challenged her to that?!), this was a trip down memory lane to the 80’s and the early 90’s for all. Lenny Kravitz kicked off the proceedings with an electric reminder of his biggest and greatest hits, but if it was the star you wanted to see, you had a long wait. Till quarter-past eight in fact! By then the sun had been replaced by the giant glitter ball and tension mounted as Chris Evans came on to define exactly who Kylie was in a heartfelt eulogy to the crown princess of pop.
Lights. Smoke. Darkness prevailed as the twang of guitar and thump of the drum sent pulses and heartbeats racing. Flickering red lights built up the pressure until…THERE SHE IS! Rising from under the stage decked in a breezy purple number our prayers were answered. Kylie wasted no time for adulation and launched straight into the title track of her current album, “Golden”. With dancers sitting on some very high stools, Kylie reminded us all that we are not young, we are not old. We are golden. And that’s who we are.
If you thought this was going to be an hour and twenty minutes of high jinx cowboy antics, then you were sadly mistaken. No sooner had “Golden” wrapped up and a brief “hello” to the audience was afforded, Kylie took us to the disco, which is probably where everyone wanted to be anyway, with her 2000 No.1 hit “Spinning Around”.
With the giant glitter ball sparkling across central London, there followed a suspicious ‘technical problem’ which gave Kylie a few minutes to engage with her crowd and sing some old hits acappella. Beginning with “Got To Be Certain” (1988), then getting the crowd to sing the title line of 1990’s “Step Back In Time” before finally giving us the “je ne sais, je je je je ne sais” opening of another 30-year older “Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi” (1988). Once plugs had been checked, we were off again, this time with her 2002 smash hit “In Your Eyes”.
Kylie thanked Radio 2 and her fans for the support given on her current album (“Golden”) and treated them to her massive hit “Stop Me From Falling”, with some arse-slapping dancing just to make sure everyone sang along with her!
Perhaps to everyone’s surprise, she wheeled her biggest hit of all time (so far) out next. With crashing cymbals and guitar riffs as soon as that first “la” was uttered, we knew what was coming. Once again Kylie chose to perform her global mega-smash not in its original form, but more in the style of “The Abbey Roads Sessions” version from 2012. Whatever your taste, it was more than welcomed and the crowd filled in all the “la’s” for her.
There followed a quick costume change and when Kylie re-emerged wearing a thin sparkly number, but not before a choir had assembled on stage and…what was this…some “ooooooh, oooooh, ooooh’s”…surely she wasn’t going to do “Especially For You”, ANOTHER 30 year old?! Oh yes she was! Her backing singers and the crowd had to fill in the blanks left by the absence of her duet partner Jason Donovan, but as we reached the middle-eight, Kylie sighed that she had no dancing partner to see out the instrumental bit. OMG! Who should walk on…only JASON DONOVAN himself! The audience went ballistic, super charged with emotion and disbelief as Jason swept her off her feet and swung her round and round just as he had done at Christmas 1988. And of course when it came to the end choruses, BOTH Jason and Kylie sang THEIR song which sold millions across the world that festive season. Electricity and tears could not deafen the riotous applause that ensued as Jason all too soon left the stage and his former sweetheart to her night.
Time now to complete the 30 year old hits with THE BIG ONE. She found her key with a little help from the piano player and gracefully began with “in my imagination…” We all knew the rest. And we sang it back to her! As the music built and she sang ‘the sacred cow’ loud and proud she was suddenly reminded of another Stock Aitken Waterman smash of the same time, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, which she proceeded to sing with vigor. No sooner had the chorus finished we suddenly heard “we’ve known each other for too long”. No, it couldn’t be? Yes, RICK ASTLEY himself walks out on stage and yet again an already emotional crowd fight back the tears and raise the very sky above London with unashamed applause. Together, Kylie and Rick demolish his UK/US No.1 smash from 1987, with Kylie’s gritty, super strong vocal complimenting Rick’s masculine, soulful tone. The pair finished up both singing her debut No.1 “Lucky” to the ‘shocked’ and uncontrollable masses.
But Kylie wasn’t letting Rick go as quick as Jason left. No, she wanted more. So bring on her 2000 duet with Robbie Williams “Kids”, always a great crowd pleaser, as K & R grooved and embraced through this stadium anthem from her back catalogue. Kylie sang “you can’t just up and leave me”, Rick retorted “I’m a singer in YOUR band”! She reeled. Perhaps the greatest compliment of the night came from Rick at the end as he told Kylie “she was beautiful, talented and she had made his night and his year”!
Where on earth was this all going to end? Kylie now demonstrated her stage power with her band before launching into yet another thirtieth birthday celebrator, “The Locomotion”, and her now staple version of the song, a la cabaret style. She didn’t disappoint and encouraged all 50,000 to ‘chugga motion’ along with her.
And in her own words, “what a show on a night like this”, and yes, that told us another smash hit from 2000 was coming. With a backdrop of cactus and cards, Kylie threw herself into another concert standard that perhaps we all take for granted now.
Time to get back to “Golden” and of course what we needed was the lead single from this album, the one that put her back in the charts across the world, “Dancing”.
The choir returned soon after as Kylie launched into another fan favourite, her 2002 UK/US smash hit “Love At First Sight”. She repeatedly asked us if we were feeling the love, and quite possibly everyone was in love with everyone else by this point.
All too soon it was over and what way to leave us, but with more love. “All The Lovers”. With band, dancers, singers and choir all on stage, Kylie delivered her 2010 smash with sincerity and in understated fashion. As she kissed us all goodbye, millions of streams of paper were fired into the crowd and the London sky just to remind us all that Kylie was in charge and this had been a show NOT to forget.
One amazing day of music had been closed with perhaps one of the greatest stage performances of all time. Kylie, perhaps forever, silenced her critics and disbelievers that she can sing. She can perform. She can hold an audience of 50,000+, and rule the stage. Few in the music business are afforded longevity, but last night, Kylie demonstrated that she is world class, she IS pop royalty and no one, not anyone, will ever steal her crown or her place in the history of all of us that lived and experienced 9th September 2018. Good night.
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