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If you didn’t know Kylie Minogue had suffered breast cancer, this comeback show would have looked like business as usual. The outfits were as camp as the Rio carnival, the songs were irrepressibly bubbly and Kylie was as much the stage trouper as ever, beaming those huge white teeth at us and making no mention of recent ill-health.
Her reticence was un-diva-like, but then Kylie is not your typical pop diva. Not for her is the emotional mega-wattage that most divas radiate (just imagine the tears and fireworks if Mariah Carey were to make a comeback like this). The only flamboyance was in Kylie’s costumes, which ranged from slinky black dominatrix gear to an extraordinary confection of pink feathers and sequins that made her look like a burlesque flamingo.
Her manner was a strangely beguiling mix of artificiality and warmth. She’s hopelessly derivative, a Madonna clone in essence, although the calculated feel of her songs is offset by her irresistible likeability. She may now be a global superstar and gay icon but the aura of Charlene, the cheery girl-next-door of Neighbours, has not left her.
This concert was a resumption of the Showgirls tour she had to abandon in 2005. The show hasn’t changed much since she first brought it to London, although I was surprised to find that her voice, despite her illness, has improved. It’s not that it’s lost its reediness to become the most demonstrative of instruments; wisely she didn’t attempt anything too complicated, and there were indulgent cheers when she held a high note.
Her dancing was restrained and robotic (lots of synchronised jerks), as if to remind one of the Stock Aitken and Waterman pop conveyor belt she emerged from in the 1980s. Her set touched on hits from that period – “Locomotion” remade as a slinky cabaret number, “I Should Be So Lucky” given the full disco treatment – alongside peerless dance-pop such as “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”. Her charm relies on bright tunes and personability. That gave the evening all the emotion it required.
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