Reflections On Kylie's Dec. 9th Auckland Show
Kylie Minogue put on two fine shows in Auckland (I saw the Dec. 9th show)!
I liked the glitter cannons that fired confetti chaff for several minutes when she sang "The One". DMTC recently used one small cannon for a few seconds during the YPT's show "Footloose", and we are still finding confetti in the theater several months later. Kylie used two industrial-strength cannons for several minutes. The janitorial staff at Vector Arena will certainly be finding confetti for years afterwards!
Some people complained about short gaps between certain songs. I noticed these gaps too, but they really didn't bother me. In general, most shows strive to avoid any gaps, however, and I'm not sure why they occurred here (dressing room too far away from stage, perhaps?)
In 1973, I had the good fortune to see Elton John perform in Albuquerque, NM, at the UNM Arena (aka "The Pit"). His album "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" had just been released, and the songs from that album were as yet unfamiliar. It was great to hear classic rock songs like "Grey Seal" and "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fightin')", for the first time ever, in a concert setting.
Later, I was surprised to hear that Elton John would never again return to perform in Albuquerque. The reason? The ceiling of "The Pit" was not sufficiently strong to bear the weight of Elton John's sound and light equipment. Apparently Elton John's later shows were more elaborate than the 1973 show had been, featuring much more equipment. This equipment was designed to hang from the ceiling, and apparently "The Pit" couldn't keep pace with stronger arenas in larger cities in catering to the demands of Elton John (and by extension, other rock artists).
Kicking off her 2008 Southern Hemisphere "X" Tour, Kylie was performing for the first time ever in Auckland. The reason cited for not having performed before there was an inadequate venue.
I was eagerly looking forward to one of my favorite songs from the "X" album, "Like A Drug". The YouTube videos from the European shows of that song showed Kylie riding into the arena on a large skull suspended from the ceiling. As theater, I think it's absolutely brilliant - a sort of Mexican-style "Dia de los Muertos" approach: the best entrance ever in rock history!
But instead, Kylie rode into the Auckland show on what appeared to be a rolling door frame. It's the sort of quick solution we might come up with in community theater.
Kylie performed well, no doubt, but I missed the grand entrance of the human skull that I had seen on YouTube. Certain evidence, like certain edits of the preliminary multimedia projection sequence, suggests that the changed approach had been planned well in advance, probably to accomodate some inadequacy of the setting.
I guess rock performers have to make adjustments to the venue, particularly in smaller cities. I can't help but wonder whether the ceiling strength issue had reared it's ugly head again.
This was my only disappointment of the show, and probably not in the capability of Kylie's team to fix.
Left: Part of the ballroom number.
Left: Kylie, with Ensemble.
Left: A Space-Age Ensemble.
Left: "The Love Boat".
Left: American football treated as glamorous foreign exotica (I wonder if this was inspired by Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl"?)
Like a Drug (Live in Paris) - Kylie Minogue
My favorite number of the "X" tour! Original conception, prior to rolling door frame....