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Live review: Kylie Minogue at the Hollywood Bowl

KYLIE_3 The Aussie singer's bluster-pop flourishes are nicely balanced by a warmly appealing stage manner in an entertaining show spanning nearly two hours.

What kind of show was Kylie Minogue's Sunday night debut at the Hollywood Bowl? The kind in which the dancers outnumbered the musicians, the backup vocalists had several costume changes and the headliner took the stage astride an enormous bejeweled skull as a small battalion of futuristic robots twirled beneath her.

To paraphrase Minogue's old pal Robbie Williams, the ego finally had landed.

Or had it? Unlike Madonna or Lady Gaga, Minogue doesn't really trade in imperturbable cool or calculating power plays. Her act is a kinder, gentler spin on dance-pop divadom, and though Sunday's concert stop -- midway through her first-ever North American tour -- offered no shortage of self-aggrandizing spectacle, the effect was more welcoming than it was intimidating.

Riding that sparkly cranium as it lowered from the ceiling, Minogue introduced herself not as a dictator or a goddess, but as a flight attendant on Air Kylie, here to serve our needs with style and speed.

That she certainly did, zooming through nearly two dozen songs in just under two hours to the very vocal delight of her fans, many of whom arrived at the Bowl dressed for the occasion. "I love a bit of arts and crafts in the audience," said Minogue following a grinding electro-industrial version of "Slow," from her 2003 album, "Body Language."


Though she's a huge star throughout Europe and in her native Australia, Minogue's following always has stayed cult-size in the United States, where she's still best known for her 1987 cover of "The Loco-Motion." ("Can't Get You Out of My Head," from 2001, threatened to change that but stopped just short.) That disparity in star power might be why Minogue continues to project an air of approachability; perhaps she's simply a nice person.

Either way, Minogue managed Sunday to give her carefully calibrated arena-pop moves an uncommon degree of human warmth, whether she was stomping around the stage in thigh-high leather boots ("Shocked") or cavorting with several slices of gym-rat beefcake in a simulated shower scene ("Red Blooded Woman").

She even proved she doesn't consider herself above "The Loco-Motion," which she turned into a slow-burn burlesque number complete with a slyly suggestive trombone solo.

Minogue's only misstep came near the end of the show, during a tedious ballad sequence inspired by "Sunset Boulevard" that found her adopting an Old Hollywood hauteur, which seemed at odds with the lovable character she'd spent the previous 90 minutes sketching out.

Fortunately, this is a woman who knows how to read a room: For her next number, "Burning Up," Minogue donned a black-vinyl bustier and ushered us into a dimly lighted bondage dungeon where nobody appeared to be having anything approaching a bad time.

--Mikael Wood

Photo credit: Axel Koester / For The Times

Comments () | Archives (24)

That Show was totally awesome!!!

Thank you Kylie for a fantastic performance, you are an angel!!!

Love Ya

She can dance like a goddess and sing across a broad range of styles; she puts on a hell of a show for a 41-year-old breast cancer survivor! We fans appreciate all she's gone through and the amount of discipline it has to take to prepare for and put on the kind of performance she joyfully makes look so effortless.

Yes, it was the best concert I ever been!

Hope there's a next time!

Kylie is an icon loved and adored around the world including South America and Asia and not just in Europe and Australia as you state. Kylie doesn't need to sketch any "lovable character" as fans know she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. America being indifferent to Kylie is your loss as the rest of the world has enjoyed and appreciated her for over 20 years.

Great Show! She sings well and put on a real spectacle. She seems very down to earth. I would have gone to Las Vegas to see her there as well if I new the show was going to be so good!

Kylie is one of the best live performers. Unlike Madonna she actually sings live too and connects with the audience. Loving the new Speakerphone Mix. Awesome looking tour.

Saw her in Las Vegas. Her connection with the audience is like no one else (atleast in the world of pop music). She takes the time to acknowledge her fans, making eye contact with as many as possible- she even brought up a little girl on stage during 'Can't Get You Out of My Head" to share the stage with her!!! Truly outstanding! THANK YOU KYLIE!!!!

She is unique in everything she does.... she is LOVE........... a real artist who does not care about taking money from her fans in the tickets......... SHE IS MY SPEAKERPHONE....

Kylie, you rock! I saw you in Oakland, Las Vegas and now LA. I've previously seen you in Melbourne and Cologne and the concert at the Hollywood Bowl was nothing short of awesome!!! Such a beautiful venue as well. I'm sorry I never saw performances there when I lived in LA, but I certainly will now. That stage was meant for you!!!! I know the rest of North America can't wait to see you and I can't wait until your next world tour, maybe now after the thrill of American audiences (especially LA), it will include the U.S.

best show EVER!!!!!

That's it!

"perhaps she's simply a nice person."

Plus, the most exciting entertainer working.

I tell everyone: Do not miss seeing Kylie live. There is nothing to compare.

Gotta admit- Kylie was awesome. I don't think I sat down for the entire show. Kylie kept the Hollywood Bowl dancing for almost 2 hours. It's nice to see someone who isn't huge perform in that venue. It's fun to see which songs the audience responds too. It's not always the biggest hits. I was kinda shocked by what people freaked out over.

the real thing she s an icon she s several home furniture fragrance brand in europe asia australia overseas, Minogue is a pop queen with a 20-year career that includes 70 million albums sold, eight sold-out world tours and dozens of hit singles. the most remarkable among numerous things is her voice a soprano vocal tht s among the best opera voice .there re people who love b fooled by mandona not a singer voice have anybody commun voice use tons of vocals device to fool people she lipsynch her show and haven t contralto voice. queen Minogue put on remarkable show the best show on hearth

It was an awesome concert!!! Just wish it wasn't at the Hollywood bowl.
Our seats weren't the best but it was still worth it and she gave a great show. Were happy to be there especially since she has never been to the US.

Hope she comes back again!!!

She was amazing. It was the best concert I've ever been to!

I have been a fan of Kylie Minogue since I was at school and at 37 years of age finally got to see her live for the first time and it was well worth the wait. Kylie is a brilliant performer and her show was ranked one of the best live shows I have ever seen and i have seen many. I hope to get the opportunity to see her live again and wish that her next tour includes more cities, San Diego please...Fantastic show from an amazing lady!!!

This performance was TRULY AMAZING! Kylie presented herself with such a sense of class to the audience, which was like a breath of fresh air! So many artists find it necessary to use so much ATTITUDE, foul language, and controversy in their performances because they believe they are their to influence or get political, or convey an opinion. These artists forget that everyone who is present is there to have fun, not to be subjected to a underlying message of some sort. Kylie was quite the opposite, she was pleasant, beautiful, and it was like an angel had come to entertain us for the evening. Her dancers were magnificent! The Hollywood Bowl made it enchanting! MOVE OVER MADONNA, KYLIE IS IN AMERICA!

really? a misstep? 'tedious ballad section'? we fans know Kylie in all her guises. she's pop princess as much as she is dramatic diva. and her voice was absolute amazement during that section. myself and many others around me found it to be one of the best parts of the show. but thanks for recognizing her other merits. she really is one of the best performers out there.

Kylie is that rare artist that connects with her audience in a way that says "I feel honored to be here performing for you" and NOT "you are so honored to see me perform."

My partner and I have traveled from Houston twice in the past year to see her.
First at O2, London, 2008. I fell in love with her at that show.
She bested that performance at Hollywood Bowl.

Sensational Kylie!!!

Seeing Kylie in NYC this weekend and cannot wait (flying from Minneapolis for the event!!!). All the reviews have been fab. Have all the KYLIE live DVDs so I know I'm ready to have my socks knocked off. Loved her schtick since the Summer of '88 when the awfully bad yet endearingly campy "bubble bath" video of "I Should Be So Lucky" was the big rage at the Cathode Ray in Ft. Lauderdale. (God she's come a long way!!! & I've gotten real old!!!) The world's best pop star by miles. Hope the tour here earns her the success and respect she enjoys in across the rest of the globe!!! Anyway, can't wait ... seeing kylie live will truly be a long-time dream come true for me!!!

Yes, we love our Kylie in Australia, she is utterly FABULOUS! Good to see that her American fans are finally seeing her magnificent concerts. Kylie is a true showgirl! I have had front row seats at all of her Australian concerts, and have met her once (admittedly I fainted)but then came too, and had a lovely discussion with her for about 10 minutes. Good on ya Kylie!

there is always a rush to defend kylie from a rather unkind media, but actually fans never need to defend her because seeing her live is proof enough that she really has it all, and if like this reviewer, cant or dont get it, then boo hoo to them, being what she has been through in the last 4 years and survived, should allow for a more thoughtful account of this amazing lady, but the media in the last 10 years has traded itself on the lower more vulgar end and they seem unable to rid themselves of that need to be rude, I would suggest that media stay away from gigs and this would allow more fans to go and enjoy the gig, Kylie is one of the best live acts in the world today, if people want a fantastic night out then make sure you get to this show, you will be so happy you did,

I am 44, single, straight, and invariably a fan of classic rock dinosaur acts, primarily - still, Ms. Minogue's performance at the Bowl managed to eclipse EVERY concert I've seen over the years, even by such legends as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen - to call this evening's entertainment "dazzling" would seriously undermine it's overall effect - it was nothing less than a re-definition of the future of live performance and it's possibilities as a whole. One would hope that American radio will, in the future, take note of her remarkable talent and champion her recorded legacy as well - she is, quite simply and honestly, the BEST.

I saw her recently announce she has booked a US Tour and will be performing in Jan 2011. Does anyone have any info? Her website is pretty useless. I'm trying to buy as a Christmas present.


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