Minogue Magic in Hyde Park

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Some people get their highs from drugs or alcohol, but I get my highs from Kylie Ann Minogue. And just like the 70,000 spectators at the BBC Radio 2 Festival In A Day (not counting the millions tuned into the radio and television broadcasts) my comedown is BAD today. The benchmark was set sky high by Kylie’s last headline slot at Hyde Park in 2015, affectionately known as ‘the Woodstock of our generation’ but it was easily equaled in a gloriously joyous hit laden set.

The highlight was without a shadow of a doubt her former love Jason Donovan joining her on stage for their million selling hit Especially For You, as evidenced by the above video of my scream which could be heard as far away as Kylie’s native Melbourne. When the opening bars drifted across the festival and Min invited a choir to duet with her rather than the Scott to her Charlene my heart sank. This wasn’t to be the promised surprise after all. BUT never underestimate a Minogue as just before the famous dance interlude she announced “But I need a dance partner”…and suddenly our Jase appeared from the side of the stage. They launched straight into their iconic side to side dance complete with SPIN that featured in as many school discos in the late 80s as units it shifted. The story became even more special when it transpired afterwards that Jason had only got a call at 7pm and without any hesitation he hopped straight on his bike and CYCLED to the festival. Just get back together guys – PLEASE!

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The other big surprise of the evening was Kylie’s former PWL (and now BMG) label mate Rick Astley joining her for surprise medley of I Should Be So Lucky and Never Gonna Give You Up.  This Stock, Aitken and Waterman reunion seemed apt considering the location where the original Hit Factory Live reunion gig was cancelled six Summers ago. Or as I like to refer to it the worst day of all time.

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The chemistry between them was electric, you could feel the pure delight radiating from both of them, as Rick exclaimed when leaving the stage “You have made my year”. Alas they did not go out on a complete high as Rick also joined her for a duet of Kids. I never like to speak ill of Minogues so instead I’ll leave it on this point – at least it was Rick who joined her as her surprise guest rather than the bloated ego of Robbie Williams.

Other highlights included an impromptu acoustic medley of some of her old hits when there were technical issues, personally I do not think it’s a surprise that I bellowed ‘JE NE SAIS PAS POURQUOI KYLIE” then she included it. There were no rarities and the majority of the setlist consisted of songs I’ve seen multiple times before but this was to be expected and the absolutely the correct thing to do considering it was a festival set. When the show ended in an immense explosion of confetti during All The Lovers my appetite was more than whet for the upcoming Golden Tour. Kylie as a performer just gets better and better and it was a true delight to see her win over such a large crowd.

SETLIST

  • Golden
  • Spinning Around
  • Got To Be Certain/Step Back In Time/Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi (Acoustic medley)
  • In Your Eyes
  • Stop Me From Falling
  • Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
  • Especially For You (ft Jason Donovan
  • The Locomotion
  • On A Night Like This
  • I Should Be So Lucky/Never Gonna Give You Up (ft Rick Astley
  • Kids (ft Rick Astley)
  • Dancing
  • Love At First Sight
  • All The Lovers

 

 

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Kylie x Spotify

The excitement started last Sunday morning. I’d woken up early for another day of essay writing when my phone pinged; my friend Rob had sent me a screenshot of his phone indicating that he’d won a competition to attend a mysterious exclusive and intimate Kylie Minogue Spotify gig. “RSVP IMMEDIATELY” was my highly chilled out response. This all seemed far too good to be true, and I felt the same way until I firmly had a wristband attached to my arm on Wednesday afternoon. The collection point was at a private members club in Soho so I was easily able to stroll along during my lunchbreak and interrogate the Spotify crew as to what we should expect the following day. I managed to conclude that she would be singing a mix of songs from her new album Golden and a selection of classics and some “surprises”, the venue was tiny with a capacity of just 400 guests. I was also thrilled to discovered there there was going to be a free bar as Spotify wanted us to “have a good time”. As I apparently have no filter system for good measure my mouth managed to blurt out that “I don’t even do streaming. I’m very loyal to my iPod Classic”. Whoops. I accepted a complementary drink from their choice of four juice options (pineapple) and trotted back to work safe in the knowledge that as long as nobody chopped my arm off to make off with my precious contraband I was definitely going to see my idol live the following day.

The concert day arrived and my boss thankfully agreed that something “spectacular” had indeed occurred and he was cool with me leaving the office early. I popped onto the 36 (westbound) bus and was soon at Porchester Hall where I joined the queue as the 6th person in line. Being not much taller than La Minogue herself I was DETERMINED to get an excellent view and luckily the other fans who had had the same idea were absolutely delightful and we merrily chatted away as the countdown began. Doors were due to open at 7pm with Kylie Ann on stage at 8pm. My friend Danny had also won tickets so he and my friend Kate (+ unborn child) as well as Rob joined me in the queue as we continued our wait. Me and my big mouth had obviously made an impression the previous day as the guy I’d met from Spotify was walking along the queue to check if anyone need to collect a wristband & said to me “I know you don’t need one. I remember you from yesterday.”

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7pm came along and we began to shuffle into the venue. I was in such a rush to get to the front of the stage I bypassed the free drinks and accessory table; but it was worth it as I found myself right against the front barrier. That’s correct. FRONT ROW. In a tiny venue. As soon as my spot was secured I knew I was in for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Danny kindly offered to take our freebie tokens and collect us some drinks from the bar (wine for the non-preggos, Coke for the preggo) and also managed to visit the accessories table selecting me a gold sequinned hat reminiscent of the Enjoy Yourself era. I was delighted to be informed that combined with my giant hoop earrings I looked very “Mel & Kim”.

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There was some mild concern amongst my party that a banjo and acoustic guitars were laid out on the stage, but these fears were soon laid to rest when Kylie set off glitter canons during her opening track which was the title track of her absolutely fabulous sounding new album ‘Golden’ (available from all major retailers on the 6th April!). Kylie was on absolutely stomping form. I dread to think how many times I’ve seen her live during my decades of super fandom but she looked happier and more relaxed than I can ever remember seeing her before. She is clearly delighted with her new material and it shows. Her stage set up was reminiscent of the Anti Tour with backing singers and a live band and not a dancer in sight. My highlights of the gig were as follows:

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  • An impromptu acapella rendition of the 1988 classic ‘Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi’. Rob and I had been joking outside that we hoped she’d sing it but not in our wildest dreams did we anticipate that might become reality.
  • The new songs. It comes as no surprise that I’m usually more thrilled than most when Minogue releases a new album, but after this concert I am even more excited than usual thanks to the strength of the new material that was debuted at the gig. Key tracks for me on first listening were ‘Sincerely Yours’ (a love letter to her fans no less), ‘Radio On’ and ‘A Lifetime To Repair’. Fun fact: I really had to restrain my emotions to stop myself from bursting into hysterical tears during the performance of this one. This is the first time since Impossible Princess 20 years ago that Kylie has co-written every single track on an album, and god does it show from what we’ve heard thus far!
  • Amusing myself by carrying out the original PWL choreo (as learnt from her ‘Kylie On The Go: Live In Japan’ TV special as she performed the Abbey Road ballad version of the 1989 number one hit single ‘Hand On Your Heart’.
  • Kylie being close enough that we made eye contact several times, the accumulation of which was her laughing when I did a cheesy #No1 finger signal during her performance of underrated banger ‘The One’.
  • During my favourite line of the aforementioned classic single (Close to touch like Michelangelo) she actually made her pal touch fingertips with her reminiscent of the scene painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. My highbrow goddess!

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Another special mention needs to go to Queen Kylie herself for being kind enough to pose for this selfie with myself and Rob. My only criticism is that my glasses clearly need a wipe!

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Thanks so much to Spotify and Queen Kylie Minogue herself for a truly Premium experience!

SETLIST

  • Golden
  • One Last Kiss
  • Raining Glitter
  • Breathe
  • Wow
  • Shelby ’68
  • Radio On
  • Islands In The Stream
  • The One
  • A Lifetime To Repair
  • Hand On Your Heart
  • All The Lovers
  • Stop Me From Falling
  • Sincerely Yours
  • Dancing

A Kylie Christmas

How does one even begin to write about the best gig that has ever been, or will ever be? I may be prone to hyperbole (and might be slightly biased as a Kylie superfan) but that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel like spending the day shaking and crying in a darkened room as surely nothing could reach those dizzying heights ever again?

Excitement had been building at fever pitch for me since tickets went on sale a couple of months back. I had my outfit sorted, the pinnacle of which was a custom made t shirt that actually featuring myself and the Queen of Everything on my left shoulder

*Correction* An as approved by Dannii Minogue designed t shirt.

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Queen Minogue started her set in a festive fashion, with a selection of tracks from her new album Kylie Christmas; I have to say one of the highlights for me personally was her (w)rapping her way through a cover of The Waitresses Christmas Wrapping. I love it when Kylie raps! (see any live version of Shocked)

She also included her cover of Winter Wonderland which I like to think is a Minogue family favourite. A couple of years back on meeting Danielle Jane I informed her my ambition was to sing with a Minogue which she happily obliged. Despite it being mid November her song of choice was Winter Wonderland. Anyway *spoiler alert* more about baby sis Dannii later…

The first special guest appeared towards the end of Act One, when Chrissie Hynde joined Ms Minogue on stage for a duet 2000 Miles exclaiming “This is a dream come true!” Fun fact. When I was a child and I’d see Chrissie Hynde on the telly I thought she was my Mum as they have the same name (and hair do). Anyway, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my Mum duetting with La Minogue last night.

Act Two kicked off with Kylie reemerging on the stage wearing a floor length gold sequin cape. I’ve seen enough pop spectaculars to know that cape wasn’t staying on for long… The song ended and, as suspected, Kylie whipped the cape off to reveal a sequinned red disco gown reminiscent of the one she recently wore for her performance of 100 Degrees on Australian X Factor. Could it be…. Could Dannii have trolled us all with her recent Twitter posts and could she have snuck on a Melbourne to London long haul flight… Sure enough the beats of the modern Christmas disco classic echoed around the Royal Albert Hall and before we knew it THERE SHE WAS! The siblings reunited live on stage. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an audience reaction that loud (except for perhaps Kylie’s first post cancer UK concert appearance which I was in attendance at); I personally felt like I burst a blood vessel by screeching so loudly.

When the song ended Kylie revealed that her very special guest had even been kept a secret from her parents and brother who were in the audience chuckling “It’s hard enough keeping one Minogue a secret, but imagine two of us!”.

Keeping the disco spirit alive Kylie trilled her way through some of her most popular uptempo hits Spinning Around and Your Disco Needs You before slowing things back down with Santa Baby (which has never been a favourite of mine – sorry Kylie!). However, all was redeemed when Queen Minogue showed JUST how magical she is by actually making it snow within the Royal Albert Hall. Strangely the song she chose to show off this feat was Let It Snow – move over Jesus!!

The next MAJOR highlight for me was the ballad version of I Believe In You which is in my top five Kylie songs ever. It’s normally magical enough but to hear it in such an illustrious setting with amazing acoustics and live orchestra is something that’ll stay with me for a long time. As if this wasn’t ethereal enough she wore an actual crown and long flowing white robes whilst mist circled around her perfectly formed ankles.

For her encore she sang Especially For You with the audience taking Jason’s part (I guess she didn’t want to parade Jason Donovan in front of new love Joshua Sasse); followed by a rousing rendition of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday for which her younger sis bounced back on stage.

As if both singing Minogues on one stage wasn’t exciting enough, not content with making it snow Kylie Ann also made it rain balloons. Call the Met Office, our glorious leader has managed to invent a new form of weather!

Everything about this show was perfect. The setlist, the costumes, the dancing, the arrangements, the special guests (and lack of them *cough* James Corden), the audience reaction completely blew me away – it was truely faultless and something I won’t forget in a hurry. Kylie entered the stage as a princess, and left it (arm in arm with her new love) as the true Queen we know her be.

I wish it could be Kylie Christmas everyday (or year – PLEASE!!)

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SETLIST

ACT 1
1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year
2. It’s Gonna Be Warm This Christmas
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
4. Oh Santa
5. Christmas Wrapping
6. Wow
7. Winter Wonderland
8. Everyday’s Like Christmas
9. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
10. 2000 Miles (ft Chrissie Hynde)
11. Christmas Isn’t Christmas ‘Til You Get Here

ACT 2
12. On a Night Like This
13. 100 Degrees (ft Dannii Minogue)
14. Spinning Around
15. Your Disco Needs You
16. Santa Baby
17. Let It Snow
18. Jingle Bell Rock
19. 12 Days of Christmas (Acapella)
19. Locomotion (Abbey Road Version)
20. I Believe in You (Ballad Version)
21. Only You
22. Love at First Sight
23. All the Lovers
24. Celebration

ENCORE
25. Especially for You
26. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (ft Dannii)

A lookback at Kylie Minogue’s Anti Tour

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Three years ago this week St Kylie of Minogue really got into full swing with her #K25 celebration of her first quarter century in the music business by embarking upon the ‘Anti Tour’. With the Anti Tour Kylie trod where none of her peers would dare to by doing a handful of dates (in both Australia and the UK) in which she sang rarieties; b sides, album tracks and unreleased demos. Anyone who’s been to see Kylie live will be aware that these are not typically understated affairs, but Ms Minogue stripped all of this back to perform theatre venues with just a backing band and none of her usual embellishments. Except perhaps a small glitter canon. And few tiny lasers.

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at her one London date at the Hammersmith Apollo and it truly was a unforgettable evening. As (despite rumours to the contrary) it has never received a DVD release all that survives of the evening beyond my memories are a selection of YouTube clips and my much prized souvenir t shirt. As tricky as it is to sift through such a one of a kind performance I’ve tried to pick some of my absolute highlights below:

MADE IN HEAVEN 

In the 25 years of Kylie fandom I’d experienced prior to this moment ‘Made In Heaven’ was the number one track I was desperate to see live. The only previous memory I have of the b side to number 2 hit single ‘Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi’ being performed live was at the 1988 Royal Variety Performance, and I’d nearly worn my taped-off-the-telly video cassette out I’d rewatched it so many times. Back in the heady days of the late 1980s my only way of listening to the audio was via my 7″ inch record; I was unable to listen to it via my Fisher Price cassette player as Queen Minogue had failed to include it on her 2 million selling debut album. Perhaps this omission has helped it to reach godlike status in my mind but whatever the reason this was an absolute highlight.

ONE BOY GIRL

KYLIE! RAPS! This was my immediate thought when I first listened to Kylie’s 3rd album release ‘Rhythm of Love’ back in 1990. Rapping had previously been the exclusive domain of the People’s Minogue younger sister Dannii. Perhaps I was too young to know better but I genuinely thought her rap skills were second to none. Well except perhaps Betty Boo that is. The One Boy Girl rap has long since been an in joke amongst Kylie fans and thought of her performing this live seemed preposterous. But then the Anti Tour came along and blew all of our preconceptions out of the window: “Hey yo Kylie, wats up wit that one boy girl thing”. Classic!

YOU’RE THE ONE

An unused track from her 1998 classic ‘Impossible Princess’ album ‘You’re The One’ has never been commercially released and only exists in a very low quality scratchy leaked demo version. The fact that Kylie even acknowledged that her fans have enjoyed it over the years speaks volumes about her relationship with her fanbase and when she chose to sing this live it was such a special moment.

TOO MUCH

The only track from La Minogue’s 2010 album ‘Aphrodite’ not to be performed live on her epic Aphrodite: Les Folies World Tour. Co-penned by Minogue herself with Calvin Harris and Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters it’s madness to me that this amazing song was overlooked as single choice. Classic Kylie. However it’s fun to see such a stripped down fun version. In terms of spectacle Aphrodite: Les Foiles set the benchmark for touring productions, I can’t imagine any of her peers ending a concert with a human water fountain; and the contrast between this performance style and the Anti Tour demonstrates Kylie’s versatility and comfort on stage.

ENJOY YOURSELF

The title track from Kylie’s 1989 sophomore album is in my top five Minogue tracks of all time. Never has the feeling a song gives you been so perfectly summed up by it’s title, pure joy from start to finish. However my 8 year old self could never understand why she sings ‘enjoy it’ on the chorus when the song is called ‘Enjoy Yourself’, and 26 years later I’m still confused. The perfect song to end the gig with this underrated classic is a pure adrenaline shot and I always blast it if I’m feeling blue. The reaction she got from the audience was so great that she even resurrected it for last year’s Kiss Me Once Tour. I defy anyone to listen to this song and not have a smile on their face.

My original review of the Anti Tour can be found here: http://www.virginmedia.com/music/features/kylie-minogue-anti-tour-review.php

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What were your highlights? Comment below!