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Review Thu Oct 08 2009

Review: Kylie Minogue @ UIC Pavilion, 10/7

km2.jpg Five months ago when Kylie Minogue's first-ever Chicago performance was announced, it was booked for the Congress. Four days before the concert, it was moved to UIC Pavilion. The reason given was "the sheer scale of the production just won't fit into the Congress, necessitating the upgrade." While standing in a six-block line to enter UIC Pavilion, popular questions among the crowd were, "Why did it take so long for someone to realize that Kylie's spectacle wouldn't fit into the Congress? And why, once the move was announced, were details kept guarded like state secrets?" (No one seemed to have a concrete answer as to when doors opened or the show started.) But in the end, these answers didn't really matter. All that mattered was what happened on the stage.

From the time Kylie was lowered to the stage singing "Light Years" in a sparkling silver dress atop a gigantic chrome skull, minds were mesmerized. For the opening sequence her eight dancers dressed somewhere between Boba Fett and post-Discovery Daft Punk. Through their robotics, the star couldn't hide her smile and the crowd cheered her every move. (Strangely, though, there wasn't a whole lot of dancing in the masses.) This tour features not just her greatest song hits, but also reworkings of the best scenes from previous tours that America never saw. With so much material to get through, excerpts were scattered (e.g. a few lines from "Where the Wild Roses Grow" in "Red Blooded Woman" and the name-dropping verses of Madonna's "Vogue" preceding "Burning Up") and one lively medley included "Shocked", "What Do I Have to Do?" and "Spinning Around" in brilliant 80s kitsch.

Midway through the 2-hour set she performed a dazzling trifecta of "Can't Get You Out of My Head", "Slow" and "2 Hearts" while dressed in a stunning navy-inspired white evening gown and captain hat. Father time remains undefeated, but Kylie is putting up a good fight. At 41, she effortlessly radiates a sex appeal that performers half her age can only dream to possess. Never was this more evident than the burlesque take on her first hit "The Loco-motion" as a stripped-down sultry jazz number. In the past, her biggest fault may have been weak vocals, but there was no indication of that as they shone when necessary. (And, just in case you were wondering, she was singing live with no lip-synching.)

It's clear that the show's designers know their majority audience well. In addition to the fit dancers flaunting for the crowd's howls, during costume changes the screens projected images of the iconic singer along with more barely clad attractive males. Although, it was the blatant homoerotic choreography that unsurprisingly received some of the loudest applause.

Before the evening came to a close, a technical glitch provided a highlight in one of the few unrehearsed musical moments. While an instrument was fixed, cheers for "Your Disco Needs You" prompted Kylie (and the many who requested it) to sing it a cappella. With some of the crowd apparently in a trance, Kylie yelled, "C'mon, you're a part of this", acknowledging that not even all her heavy lifting creates a perfect performance. A rousing "In My Arms" ended the initial set and after a short break she returned for a quick encore of "Better the Devil You Know" and "Love at First Sight." Lasers and confetti filled the arena while the diminutive singer concluded her complete dominance over the Chicago crowd. Hopefully, it won't be the last time she does so.

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Steven O g / October 8, 2009 9:22 PM

I was at the chicago concert last night and left after 45 minutes i thought it was a total disaster the sound was awful and the whole venue looked like an old barn dance. I seen her 3 times in europe and she is great but the Chicago concert was a total disaster. I think she moved it to the UIC at the last minute to make extra $ and not gave much thought to the venue.

Jason / October 8, 2009 10:51 PM

Steven O G is insane, the venue wasn't ideal (or a fitting place for such an iconic superstar) but Kylie put on an AMAZING show and proved to be a down to earth dance diva. I was totally impressed that she sang live the ENTIRE time, Britney Spears isn't 1/2 as talented as Kylie and I enjoyed this show far more then Lady GaGa and Janet Jackson (Madonna is the only exception). Kylie was a refreshing breath of fresh air iin America and it's a shame American radio doesn't know what it's missing. I sincerely hope Kylie comes back soon!

Jody / October 8, 2009 11:42 PM

Drove up to Chicago from Lexington Ky, and it was by far the best show I have seen live, better than Madonna's Girlie Show, better than Cher. It was amazing. PERIOD!!!!

Jon / October 9, 2009 8:02 AM


Nice to see you again if only briefly. Not sure what Steven O G was thinking leaving early -- there were literally 0 issues with the sound where I was, so why didn't you try moving? It's not like they would have stopped you.

The whole Congress thing was weird from the start and clearly a result of the LA-based promoter not knowing much about Chicago vanues. In the end, I was very pleased with the move.

The show was fantastic and honestly surpassed even my high expectations. My only disappointment was covered in the review -- the strange lack of energy from the crowd. I thought the place was going to blow up at In My Arms but I felt like I was the only one pogoing. Maybe the overwhelming line sapped people's dance fever?

Jerry / October 9, 2009 8:03 AM

Woah! What a show! I believe she played directly to the fans! She carries the stage with warmth and grace! It was so great it reminded me of a classic movie that maybe you've seen for the first time at first you don't wanna watch it because its before your time. In the end you feel good because it stirred up something inside that you realize has a lot to do with what's going on right now and you continue to think about it for days weeks months after... I think Kylie's message is definitely love. If you were there you couldn't escape it!

tankboy / October 9, 2009 2:45 PM

Jon, I believe C3 was the promoter and they are VERY familiar with Chicago venues. They tend to use Confress a lot, and I'm guessing they booked Kylie in there because they really didn't know what the response ticket-wise was going to be.

Gregory / October 9, 2009 3:01 PM

I looked forward to the show for months, only to be disappointed when told that the wrist-bands were all out, and no one else would be allowed on the floor. So the Kylie show was a $75 blip to me - she was waaaaay far away. The change in venue blew burrito chunks. Most pissed about the whole evening, despite her electrifying performance, which I could hear, and not see.

Mike / October 9, 2009 3:59 PM

Meh, the show was fairly forgettable if you ask me. The whole thing was unfocused and the transitions between the songs were odd, to say the least. Add some second-rate choreography/dancers, lame costumes and bad visuals and it all turns into mush. She sounded great, but the show needed some serious editing.

Theodore / October 9, 2009 4:03 PM

I wanted to enjoy the show more than I did, but I'll have to throw in with the "bad venue" comments. Perhaps opening up the balcony might have helped (and if anyone had been enterprising enough to rent binoculars, they would have had a goldmine on their hands). Just hoping there's a next time!!!

don / October 10, 2009 2:13 AM

We drove from Evansville,In to see the show and all we can say is "WOW WOW WOW!" It ranked up there with Madonna and Cher. She looked and sound fabulous.

Ed / October 12, 2009 11:59 AM

We flew from Atlanta to see her. Never seen her show before; yes, the venue was not ideal, but WHAT A SHOW!
I have seen Britney, Madonna, and all others, and I definitely liked Kylie the best, maybe because it seemed like a much more honest concert, where not every line is rehearsed to death so they sound fake. I did not have problems with the sound; however I do have to say that when I go to a concert I wear hi-definition earplugs that clear out the noise, so the music sounds extremely clean, again I think the venue was not ideal for this show. I have a couple of friends that have seen her tours in Europe a couple of times, and they agree that this show was a mix/remix of some of the stuff we have never seen in North America. I am glad I got to see it and would definitely pay to see it again. GO KYLIE!

Brian / October 12, 2009 2:30 PM

She looked and sounded fantastic. I couldn't have asked for a better show.

She really connected with her audience in a way I haven't seen her connect (on her tour DVDs). She was so down-to-earth and relaxed. So sweet!

concert fan / October 12, 2009 4:21 PM

It was a fantastic show and she was on that night, but the venue does leave much to be desired!

Mr G / October 29, 2009 8:07 PM

I was at the concert and it was GREAT!!!!!!!
Kylie was amazing, she is the best.
A very good concert.

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