Kylie performs On A Night Like This at the Manchester Apollo on Friday 9th March 2001.
by Matthew Alan Wood
NB: Kylie toured her “Light Years” album, her first world tour since “Let’s Get To It” in 1991. This review was written and originally published shortly after the show in 2001. No editing or updating has taken place, so Matt’s words are just as he wrote them, preserving historical thoughts and observations just as they were at the time.
As a long term Kylie fan I have wanted to see Miss Minogue in concert for many years, but until now have never had the opportunity to do so. I arrived very excited and even slightly nervous, after all thirteen years had built up to this! My first thoughts when finding my seats were initially one of disappointment. The seats were not the best in the house at all, half way back in the rear circle. Saying this though the Apollo is of a construction where the view is not bad wherever you sit.
Still I just knew I was going to spend the whole performance feeling jealous of those near the front! Along with the constant obstruction of the lady in front’s piled up perm, this was not a good start! The support act Dimestars were ‘passable’ and interesting with the fact that the lead singer was Kim Wilde’s younger sister, by the same of Sam I believe. At least they gave me a chance to figure out how best to avoid The Perm From Mars in front of me, which meant sitting on my left bum cheek for most of the show!
Then after a long wait, all these factors seemed so unimportant. The mighty foghorn of HMS Kylie sounded and up went the ruby curtains to reveal an amazing set. A transatlantic cruiseliner of extreme proportions stood in front of the audience. The first song was of course “Loveboat”. The introduction of the song was extended out so as to let the eager fans survey the impressive stage musical style set. Dancers filled the stage, goofy sailors and Hawaiian style dance girls complete with grass skirts. The whole feeling was very South Pacific with a touch of “Loveboat” thrown in of course. All done very well and very visual. The song was quickly approaching the first line but where was Miss Minogue herself?
This question was soon answered as The Lady made her dramatic and very Kylie entrance stood on a huge anchor lowered from the ceiling. Like an angel visiting from heaven, and that’s certainly how her voice sounded. Heavenly! I was overwhelmed how strong and clear her voice was. Every note coming out of the tiny mouth of this very tiny lady was spot on. With never seeing Kylie in the flesh before I was straight away struck with how petite she was. Small but perfectly formed. Kylie looked stunning wearing short a white dressing robe. “Loveboat” was sung brilliantly and the extra-terrestrial perm seemed to of shrunk slightly! As Kylie reached the end of the song her bath robe was whisked away to reveal a stunning and very skimpy crystal top and very mini skirt.
The next vocal treat was “Koocachoo”, not one of my favourite tracks, but sung perfectly. Kylie sung most of this song standing and lounging on top of a bar on the deck of the HMS Kylie. The next song is really where things went through the roof. After telling us she was about to sing an ‘oldie’, Kylie flowed into the 1989 number one smash “Hand On Your Heart”. At this point the crowd went mad! No bums on seats now and my left cheek had a much deserved rest! Kylie belted out the pop classic true to the recorded track but with the added magic of a live vocal. How such a small person manages such a big voice will always fail me. Kylie ‘cruised’ through the song effortlessly. Things slowed for the next number “Put Yourself In My Place”, which was sung much in the way of those familiar with the Intimate And Live will know. Superb. Next, the lights which reflected of the FOUR (yes four. Not one or two, but four) mirror balls faded to allow the impossible princess retreat off stage.
Very soon Kylie returned in a red leather trouser suit with flame jetting up the legs. The song was the incredible “On A Night Like This”, sung as technically and challenging as the recorded counterpart. Kylie pulled off the high and long notes with little fuss. We were next treated to a small dialog section from Kylie, the usual thank you’s and suchlike. Then Kylie informed us the next song was a track from her next album and was titled “Cant Get You Out Of My Head”, which was instantly catchy with its “la la la” and midish tempo, a very strong dance track. Not next single stuff I don’t think, but it’s hard to tell from one listen.
The next section of the show was a fantastic medley of some of the biggest Stock Aitken Waterman hits, beginning with “Step Back In Time” through to “Never Too Late”, “Wouldn’t Change A Thing”, “Turn It Into Love” and climaxing with a very uplifting performance of Kylie’s last PWL single “Celebration”. The Medley set was very well received, many people’s favourites were obviously included. With everyone still on their feet, the cheers, whistles and clapping was astonishing. Kylie ended the medley set once again speaking to her fans. She made a very touching speech about how she was so grateful for her fans support over the years. She commented on how long ago it seemed she came to the UK. She then went on to thank everyone for the success of the past year with “Light Years”. I think it was at this point that a fan threw a pair of boxer shorts (clean I hope!) on to the stage! Kylie’s response was “this isn’t a Tom Jones concert you know!”. The crowd howled with laughter! This was a perfect example of the down to earth wit and charm Kylie conducted the show with.
Kylie next performed what has become somewhat of a fan favourite, “Your Disco Needs You”, performed with an unusual, and to be true, a not that effective rugby dance routine. The dancers were all in rugby style outfits sporting flags from around the world. I think the idea was a tie in with the male chanting aspect of the song. Probably the low part of this show. Don’t get me wrong, not poor and Kylie’s vocal was spot on, but lacking compared to the rest of the show.
The next part of the concert was based around a 1950’s American showstopper theme. The background was draped with flowing gold silk ruffle style curtains. A huge black grand piano was pushed forward, transporting a stunning Kylie wearing white top hat and tails. Kylie strolled her way through a slowed down, show style version of “I Should Be So Lucky”. Miss M was surrounded by her army of dancers, all in balck top hats and tails. This was met with a huge response from the audience who could all be heard singing along. The song then seamlessly changed into a rendition of the anthem “Better The Devil You Know”, again met with the crowd’s delight. Kylie once again, elegantly left the stage for a scene and costume change.
Kylie reappeared, pushed along in a cage style construction, by four scantily clad dancers perched on top. The centre of which contained a strip club like dancing pole! Kylie performed a steamy version of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” wearing a stunning black cat suit style outfit. The amazing lights gleamed off the crystals which graced the suit. This was the stage of the show where Kylie’s almost ‘unchanged in a decade’ beauty really shone through. Kylie then reclined herself on the light up staircase (as every K show must have) to glide her way through the fantastic “Confide In Me” with all the high notes intact. This was followed by all singing and all dancing flawless performances of “Butterfly” and “So Now Goodbye”. This once again showcasing the mighty “Light Years” album. Also from the album came “Kids”. How, without Robbie you might ask? Kylie jumped head first into the song by reciting the infamous ‘Robbie rap’. She sounded great, full of sassy attitude, almost rock chick like! The crowd were at this point jumping with their hands in the air, almost as if at a rock concert. Kylie went on to sing her part of the song with her two excellent backing vocalists performing a slightly tweeked Robbie Williams role. It was around here that Kylie announced the customary false end of the show.
No one was fooled and after much stamping and chanting, a once again metamorphosised songbird returned to centre stage. Dramatic flames lit up the back of the stage as Kylie sang the stonking “Shocked”, one of the best performed numbers of the show. The set then once again blacked out, soon to illuminate and exposing a huge flying saucer space craft. This could only mean one thing. Sure enough the next song heard was Kylie’s countdown to “Light Years” itself. Kylie then appeared through a door in the middle of the space craft to sing a fantastic performance of the song. Kylie was dressed in a space age, Barbarella style mini dress with disc hat. Kylie looked like an air/space hostess, after all she is your purser! The KM Airways theme carried right through the song, the spoken parts of the song performed with a humorous, tongue-in-cheek edge. The last two songs of the show were “What Do I Have To Do?” and of course Kylie’s recent numero uno “Spinning Around”. Kylie closed the show floating around in a white glittering getup. She thanked the audience with high volumes of sincerity, and introduced and thanked her band and dancers.
Kylie left the whole crowd and myself amazed and speechless. What an amazing, dramatic and entertaining performance. Lie showed what a professional and talented artist she is. A true star in every sense of the word. Her star quality shone like a flawless jewel first hitting the sunlight. My partner who attended the concert has never pretended to be a Kylie fan, only attending the show for my benefit. My partner’s reaction was of shock and amazement with Kylie’s voice and the whole spectacle of the performance. A true feat achieved by Miss Minogue I feel!!!! I can’t wait for the next time. World re-domination should well and truly be under Kylie’s belt then.
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