Sunday 21 July 2019

Kylie Golden Tour at 3Arena review: 'It's like five shows in one as she channels 30 years of different personas'

Kylie Minogue at the 3Arena. PIC: Kylie Minogue/Twitter
Kylie Minogue at the 3Arena. PIC: Kylie Minogue/Twitter
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

The real Kylie, that petite Aussie who still looks 20, celebrates her golden jubilee this year with the Golden Tour and it is the most extravagant production I’ve seen. I must say it’s also the most unusual dance troupe. Very flash boys. The stage extends into the audience and there is a vivid panoramic set, with an Australian wilderness desert scene backdrop. The cowboys flip their hips in line dancing moves and the rhinestone girl appears in her pink chiffon shift, and white cowboy boots, warming up the audience with ‘Better the Devil You Know’.

As the Nashville incarnation of Kylie takes over, with glittery men grinding around her, she seems quite suited to country and western, a sort of early version Taylor Swift. She disappears and is on screen singing one of my favourite songs, ‘Blue Velvet’. 

The background scenes are historic 50’s and 60’s, immersing the audience in way more than a ‘gig’. It is a life story of Kylie – she returns in her white costume, singing ‘Confide in Me' and is presented with a rose by a member of the audience, and we get a moment of ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow’, her memorable duet with Nick Cave. Her first concert in Dublin was 1990, two years after her first release, and she looks very happy to be here again, raising the audience to full singalong mode with ‘In Your Eyes.’

Depicting her early years, she’s back on stage in 1980’s high-waist jeans, floppy gold top, with a classic Shelby 68 on screen, her dad’s car. The costume pivot is a time zone, next comes 'Wow' from 2007, getting the audience to their feet again.

I became a big Kylie fan in 2001 when my then nine-year-old bought 'Fever' for my birthday. We played it in the car for years. She had changed from cute to raunchy after her relationship with Michael Hutchence. And now she’s pounding out my little boy’s favourite, ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head,’ with her leggy legend dancers.

Costume change No. 4 and Kylie is in biker mode, slinky black leather, very Emma Peel in The Avengers. She oozes into Slow ("Slow down and dance with me") and rocks into 'Kids' – her duet with Robbie Williams. The biker routine is all about Lovers United, with the troupe on full erotic mode.

Kylie at the 3Arena
Kylie at the 3Arena

She goes back to her earliest recordings from Stock Aitken Waterman years, ‘Especially For You,’ and ‘Wouldn’t Change a Thing'.

The entire event is like five shows in one. In the Studio 54 performance, she emerges in a chic golden dress, dancers include a Warhol figure, as she sings ‘On a Night Like This’ from 2000.

Leo Varadkar meets Kylie backstage in Dublin
Leo Varadkar meets Kylie backstage in Dublin

The glittery mirror ball spirals and shoots silver beams across the space, sparkly rainbow confetti flutters and golden ribbons fall over the audience, as if Kylie is embracing all in her own party. Then ‘toot toot beep beep’ is in the background, ‘Bad Girls’ turns into full-on ‘Locomotion’, the Little Eva song that Kylie released in 1988, and by now the packed auditorium is swinging on its feet. Her early songs have become rhythmically different, and in homage to Donna Summer, she mingles ‘Love At First Sight’ with ‘I Feel Love.’

Her concert dates in Dublin were set for October but she became ill and had to cancel. When she mentions her sorrow at having to do that, she says, 'but it is December now', and sings her first Christmas song ‘Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.’ (Not yet please!)

The Kylie kit is always effusive, those gold hot pants went viral before we even had an internet. She might seem a resilient woman of diverse motivation, ranging from country & western, biker rock, elegant sequin, chic Studio 54 and reverting to pop princess in her baby doll suit; but this woman has come through serious hard knocks from cancer to cheating cads. Her lyrics are often sad, she trills 'If I get hurt again, I’ll need a lifetime to repair'.

As the life story moves on, her encore, 'Dancing', says it all “When I go out, I wanna go out dancing,” and she remains on stage alone, engaging with a thrilled audience.

Sitting high up in the auditorium, seeing the highly charged audience bopping beneath the stage, we have come a long way from ‘comely maidens dancing at the crossroads’, when our Taoiseach is down there with his friends.

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