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Kylie’s new year January 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music.
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Concert marks triumphant comeback from fight against cancer

A simple quiz. Who has a diamante microphone, a batallion of semi-naked dancers, and gets a standing, screaming ovation before she has even sung a note? Kylie Minogue, of course, at her “homecoming” New Year’s Eve gig.

Bad weather may have cancelled celebrations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Newcastle and Liverpool, but you get the feeling that, had this gig been held in any of those cities, the showgirl would have gone on. This is, after all, a woman who this time last year was awaiting the all-clear after the chemotherapy that forced the postponement of these dates. Beyond the walls of Wembley Arena, it was hard to imagine there was a single sequin or pink feather left to go round. But, hey, if all those bald flamingoes could have been here, they would have surely deemed the sacrifice worthwhile.

A surging Better The Devil You Know was momentarily delayed, such was the thunderous welcome. Given that recent tabloid speculation over her relationship with the French actor Olivier Martinez suggests she might actually be living out the song’s lyrics, it was a defiant opening in more ways than one. One had to conclude, as she sashayed on to the walkway, seemingly nary a care in the world, that Kylie Minogue is as hard as nails, and her latest incarnation seems to reflect that fact. Where once, pre-illness, Minogue was all about glitter, Moulin Rouge and glamour, there is a stronger, more abrasive edge to the styling now. Her make-up is harsher, more ravaged, more Dietrich than Monroe. The pre-show trailers showed her with eye sockets ringed with greasy black kohl, replacing all traces of Ramsay Street with something closer to Berlin in the 1930s.

But some things never change. If Madonna’s 2006 arena shows cemented her status as the Queen of Pop, the affection commanded by Kylie casts her as the People’s Princess. “Is the world still spinning around?” she enquired on In Your Eyes. Flanked by more six-packs than the draining board at a student party, it’s fair to say that the collective gaydar certainly was. For Shocked and What Do I Have To Do, she took to the stage with a Warholesque mop of tinder-dry hair and an apocalyptically distressed gold flapper dress, looking as if she had punched her way out of a riot at Studio 54.

Then, in the time it takes to wave a few thousand glow-sticks in a dark hangar, she went from burlesque to arabesque for a tabla-strewn Confide In Me, rich in Eastern sensuality.

Having designated an ad hoc dancefloor around the catwalk it seemed a shame to waste it, and, save for a recuperative Tears On My Pillow and Somewhere Over The Rainbow, this was a set that defied physical resistance. What, minutes before, had looked like a 1930s Hollywood soundstage was transformed into a gym. Not just any old gym, mind, but one that exceeded the wildest fantasies of Kylie’s adorers. Behold, then, our heroine dressed as a leopard wrestling with her troupe of male dancers. More hits from her 80s imperial phase followed, Locomotion, Hand On Your Heart, I Should Be So Lucky, before a glacial Can’t Get You Out Of My Head threatened to raise the roof. But there was one particular song that demanded to be heard. “There’s a party going on round here. A celebration to last throughout the year,” she sang on Celebration.

Suddenly 2006 gave way to two thousand and heaven. The remaining 364 days have a hell of a lot to live up to.