Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kylie Minogue at the o2

Last weekend I went to see Kylie at the 0² Arena - a major departure from my usual gig circuit of dingy pubs and muddy festivals. I hadn't been to a stadium gig since the early nineties (INXS at Wembley Arena was my last), and had forgotten what a strangely impersonal experience it was. Walking into the venue formerly known as the Millennium Dome, I felt literally nauseous surveying the 19,999 other punters lining its cavernous interior. I was there with Neel (who had organised the outing) and two of his other lovely fag-hags (and I mean that in the friendliest possible way ladies), Fred and Laura. Once we'd sat down and I'd had time to adjust my internal scale settings, I was soon infected by Neel's obvious excitement, and looking forward to witnessing what I'd been told would be an impressive show.

Descending onto stage like spiderwoman in her web, the diminutive pop princess embarked on a two-hour marathon of hits that included material from the new album, X, as well as many old favourites. The steep-sided auditorium and lack of leg room were rather prohibitive to dancing, but we did manage to bop around for a couple of numbers, including Love At First Sight - my own favourite Kylie tune. A veritable visual spectacular, the set included numerous costume changes and an impressive light-screen stage that made the 70s underlit dancefloor seem positively prehistoric. Flanked by a troupe of scantily-clad buff male dancers (she clearly knows her market), Ms Minogue exuded energy and charm throughout, leaping about deftly like someone half her age. Taking us all back in time, she finished on her first ever hit single, I Should Be So Lucky, which came out in 1987 - when I was in the last year of primary school. Back then, I wouldn't have been seen dead dancing to Kylie (I was on the verge of becoming a moody rock-chick), but have since realised that a slice of cheesy pop in the musical pie is well worth having. Apart from getting rid of the poodle perm and puffballs skirts, Kylie hasn't really changed much in over 20 years, and despite not having any real singing talent, has managed to sustain a successful career in the pop industry. You've got to respect that.

I very much doubt that I'll be repeating the experience any time soon (the claustrophobic tube journey back to London Bridge was enough to put me off forever), but it was good to be dragged out of my comfort zone for one night and mix with the masses. Hopefully it'll also make me appreciate the more familiar territory of muddy fields and obscure bands at Kendal Calling this weekend.

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