My experience of Kylie’s second ever set of Christmas gigs was so special that I will never be able to forget it; and mostly because I was lucky (lucky lucky) enough to take along my 5 year old niece (and fellow superfan) Florence to her first ever concert. Seeing such a wonderful experience through the eyes of a young child was so moving; I truly think on my deathbed when I think back on my life experiences this will feature up there as one of the most magical I’m likely to ever to have.
The excitement reached fever pitch even in the run up, with frantic rewatching of last year’s concert on YouTube and outfit planning; and as Florence rightly announced “Kylie Minogue is the biggest popstar in the whole world”. I met my sister outside the Royal Albert Hall, who dropped off her daughter leaving her in the care of myself and Ms Minogue for the evening. Before we’d even entered the venue Flo pointed in the window; screeching at a white tutu covered in musical notes “Auntie Cha Cha! It’s my favourite dress of Kylie’s from last year!!!”.
We showed our tickets and went straight to the merch stand; Florence left with a programme and badge set whilst her slightly older Aunt left with the same plus a t shirt. We had our photograph taken posing with the tinsel dress featured on the Kylie Christmas: Snow Queen Edition reissue album; and Florence basked in the compliments she received regarding her sequinned bomber jacket (she was mildly annoyed with me for not wearing my matching one). We bumped into several other fellow Kylie fans who all wanted to know Florence’s thoughts on what was about to happen.
After picking up a chocolate ice cream (a girl after my own heart, one of Florence’s biggest concerns was what snack selection the RAH would offer) we made our way to our seats. She was delighted to find a santa hat on the back of our seats and even though it was so big for her tiny head and kept slipping over her eyes she insisted on wearing her “present from Kylie” for the duration. I pointed up at the ceiling to a net bag full of balloons, and told a wide eyed little girl that I wouldn’t be surprised if they were released during the final song…
We chatted with the chaps sat in front, a lovely couple who’d flown over from Holland for the show who were both very impressed such a small girl was a huge Kylie fan. Florence decided to entertain them with a rousing rendition of Little Donkey and her favourite Kylie hits whilst we waited for Kylie to take the stage.
The lights dimmed and Florence gripped tightly onto my arm, shaking with overexcitement as I said to her “that means she’s coming on stage” and right on cue Kylie entered stage right. She started proceedings with “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as Florence exclaimed “I love this one!!” and we both danced and sang along at the top of our lungs. By the third song (“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”) Florence leaned over to me and whispered “I think this is better than last year; the costumes are MUCH more Christmassy”. She also took great delight in pointing out every single time the setlist deviated from the previous year; which is exactly the level of detail I want to be having in a conversation with my five year old niece. My highlights of the first half were “Confide in Me” performed as the original single version and “Better The Devil You Know” dueted with Olly from Years and Years. Florence preferred “The One” (despite being unfamiliar with it she couldn’t stop singing “love me, love me, love meee” afterwards), the HEY! bits of “Christmas Wrapping” and “Celebration” for which she was delighted when I told her seeing as she’s so small she was allowed to dance standing on the chair.
Next up was interval time; Flossie reveled in learning all of these new and exotic terms. “Interval”, “duet”, “encore”; it was like her tiny mind had been opened up to a entire new world as she relished dropping these into conversation afterwards. During the interval on a quick trip to powder our noses Flo was delighted to spot two other little girls in the queue; as she smugly informed me once back at our seats “those kids were defo older than me Auntie Cha Cha”. Nails emoji!
Part two kicked off with something that I never thought I’d see let alone enjoy…a duet of “Your Disco Needs You” with opera singer Katherine Jenkins. Last summer (after turning up to babysit her and her brother with rainbows painted on my face) I taught my niece about the importance of gay pride. Florence was as pleased as punch to point out the significance of the rainbow flags on the stage. I’m proud to reveal that YDNY is now her favourite Kylie song – apologies to “Hand On Your Heart”! She also massively got into “100 Degrees”; during the intro I asked Flo if she thought Kylie’s sister might duet with her…she then innocently said to me “Is Britney Kylie’s sister?”. Close Floss. Close.
During “Let It Snow” poor Florence looked crestfallen to see that it did not actually snow. “Never mind she said” as I tried to distract her with chocolate buttons. Her attention was soon alerted when I pointed to the giant disco ball high up in the roof of the iconic venue…. “Look Florence; it’s coming down!” I exclaimed and my young niece gasped as we were suddenly in the midst of the biggest disco in town as Ms Minogue belted out her cover of “Night Fever”. Act Two came to a close with “All The Lovers” complete with confetti drop. Whilst Florence was suitably impressed she asked if it was time to go home (it was three hours past her bedtime); “Not yet Floss; don’t forget about those balloons!!”.
Once the encore was up all of a sudden something really magical happened. As Florence has been informing anyone who’ll listen ever since Kylie Minogue made it snow indoors. Whilst singing “Silent Night” no less. It really did seem made for the venue as my niece and I held hands and sang along. Kylie then moved onto a duet of “Especially For You”, dueting with the audience instead of Jason Donovan. I suppose it was her fiance’s birthday (Flo had taken great delight in joining the room to sing happy birthday earlier on) so wheeling out her former beau might have been a faux pas. Luckily Florence has received an excellent education so was more than able to duet with her idol. She ended the show with a rousing cover of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”; and finally a very tired little girl saw her dream of balloons descending from the ceiling.
“Next year Auntie Cha Cha perhaps we can sit nearer to the balloons” was Florence’s very matter of fact answer as the final applause ended and she beamed me a big smile.
- “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
- “Wonderful Christmastime”
- “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
- “Christmas Wrapping”
- “At Christmas”
- “Come into My World”
- “Confide in Me” (with John Grant)
- “The One”
- “Better the Devil You Know” (with Olly Alexander)
- “Stay Another Day”
- “Your Disco Needs You” (with Katherine Jenkins)
- “100 Degrees” (Solo version)
- “Spinning Around”
- “Christmas Lights”
- “The Locomotion”
- “Santa Baby”
- “Let It Snow”
- “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”
- “Night Fever”
- “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)”
- “Love at First Sight”
- “All the Lovers”
- “Silent Night”
- “Especially For You”
- “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”
Big shout out to Stephen Smith for gifting Florence with one of the aforementioned special balloons!