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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A Midnight Date With Kylie Minogue

Ever since HMV announced the competition to win one of 300 places at the midnight launch of Kylie’s 13th studio album GOLDEN I had a strong feeling that I WOULD be attending that wasn’t even slightly dampened by failing to be picked in either the original draw or the subsequent re-draw. When there’s a will there’s a way. I’m certain the HMV customer service team were delighted by my daily correspondence on this matter. With 5 days to go I’d been informed that all tickets had been allocated and that there would be no further draw for tickets, or as I call it – a technicality.

The day of the event arrived and weirdly I’d still not received a notification that I’d been allocated a GOLDEN ticket. Working just a few minutes stroll from the venue I decided to pop along during my lunchbreak and see if I could work my charm. I managed to procure an impromptu meeting with Simon, HMV’s Head of Events who informed me, alas, that there was nothing he could do as the event was already oversubscribed so they would not be running a reserve list. I enjoyed his advice that I snap up a cassette if possible, as this was the most limited of all the formats. “Babe, I have a delivery for every single format pending since the dot of midnight they went on pre-order!”. I thanked Simon for his help, and trotted back to my office with only a very faint feeling that I should doubt my proven Kylie Karma.

Despite all of this I still felt in my heart that Cinderella would be going to ball. Back at work I saw a notification pop up on my phone from my friend Danny (a competition winner) “Dear. Spoke to HMV again. You can come with me”; “ARE YOU JOKING??????!?!?!?!?!?!?” was my highly restrained response. It turns out that darling Danny had won twice (under two e-mail addresses) and had spent the past week trying to convince them to transfer one to me to no avail. He tried one last time that day by speaking to a lovely chap at the store who informed him that as long as I entered the venue with Danny I could attend. All seemed too good to be true, so I called the store myself to speak to my saviour Jason, and he confirmed that all was legit and that within a mere matter of hours I would indeed be in the presence of royalty.

This lack of notice was probably a good thing for the stability of my mental health as it meant I didn’t have time to get too worked up beforehand. I headed home from work to select an outfit and plumped for a vintage ‘Kylie Says Relax’ t shirt from her 2006 Showgirl Homecoming Tour with a leather jacket. I caught up on my soaps then popped back on the bus to join my friends. There were many familiar faces in the queue so it was delightful to catch up with so many people. Another Danny who I ALWAYS go and see Kylie with had also won a ticket so I joined the queue with him and many others joined our group as we waited for the clock to strike midnight.

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Minogue herself arrived at about 11.45pm to a sea of paps, some of whom ran in the building after her and had to be dragged out by security. Despite being very near the front of the queue I’m not much taller than Kylie herself so this was all I saw of the scuffle.

At about 12.30 we were ushered into the store to select our product for signing. Despite having every single format on preorder from Kylie.com I panic bought another picture disc as decided this would look best signed, and I had no intention of playing it anyway. So if anyone wants a picture disc (unsigned) holler! We joined another queue where we were issued with GOLDEN wristbands and given an as-invented-by-Romy-&-Michele Post It with our name spelt correctly on.

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We were then ushered to the fourth floor where we joined another queue that had a stage at the far end with a GOLDEN tinsel backdrop. “It’s ACTUALLY KYLIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I proclaimed to my group.  Whilst queuing I saw my buddy Simon from earlier who had changed into a snazzy pink suit. Looking at me with a mix of disbelief and confusion he said to me “You made it in then?”. “Why of course!” was my response as I beamed a big smile at him. The queue moved along quite swiftly and I suddenly felt like I was having an out of body experience, my legs felt like jelly and I kept thinking I was going to drop my record.Before I knew it I was at the front and handed my phone over to the attendant who started snapping away.

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“Hello Kylie!” I cheerfully exclaimed “I so enjoyed your Spotify gig the gig the other week”. “Why thank you!” replied the Queen of the Universe “I enjoyed it too!”. “Nice choice Jasmin!” she said as she took my picture disc from me, GOLDEN pen in one hand.

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“Kylie” I said. “Can I ask you an odd question?”. “I THINK so” giggled back my idol. “Well. This has bothered me for 30 years now. WHAT were you wearing on your bottom half on your debut album cover?”  “Oh gosh” she replied. “I really don’t remember”. “Did you accessorise your hair hat with jeans or was that a black dress?” I embellished. “It was a long time again” replied Minogue “I’m really sorry I just don’t remember” “Oh well, if you remember please Tweet the answer! I’m so excited about this new album” and with that our moment was over. It may have been fleeting but meant the world to me.

On the way out the HMV social media team asked to take a pic of Danny, Laura & myself with our signed vinyls as we looked “fab” and we happily obliged. And that was that. I’m delighted to report that Kylie did not turn into a pumpkin at midnight and would implore you all to check out her FAB new album GOLDEN available from all reputable outlets now.

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So the key takeaways are thus….

a) Daniel Langrish-Beard is an ABSOLUTE LIVING LEGEND

b) The power of manifestation. There’s never been a thing on this planet that I’ve not been able to make happen if I’ve really set my mind to it whether it’s moving to New York on a whim or attending a ticketed Kylie Minogue competition that I’ve not even won. It’s all in mind! I wonder what I’ll work on next?!

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

Kylie Christmas – The Sequel

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.

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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!!!”.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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“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.

Setlist

Act One

  1. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
  2. “Wonderful Christmastime”
  3. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
  4. “Christmas Wrapping”
  5. “At Christmas”
  6. “Come into My World”
  7. “Confide in Me” (with John Grant)
  8. “The One”
  9. “Better the Devil You Know” (with Olly Alexander)
  10. “Celebration”
  11. “Stay Another Day”

Act Two

  1. “Your Disco Needs You” (with Katherine Jenkins)
  2. “100 Degrees” (Solo version)
  3. “Spinning Around”
  4. “Christmas Lights”
  5. “The Locomotion”
  6. “Santa Baby”
  7. “Let It Snow”
  8. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”
  9. “Night Fever”
  10. “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)”
  11. “Love at First Sight”
  12. “All the Lovers”

Encore

  1. “Silent Night”
  2. “Especially For You”
  3. “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”

Big shout out to Stephen Smith for gifting Florence with one of the aforementioned special balloons!

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