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"This song lets you in, gonna get back up and down again..." drools the ever poetic Kylie Minogue on the opening track of her most recent tour concert, now packaged as a double CD and DVD. This show was so unique in its presentation that it was filmed in 3-d and aired in Odeon's all over the country a month after the live shows were performed. Minogue herself has embraced her Showgirl persona, becoming more elaborate with every tour, yet never at the expense of the musicality itself. It is testimony to her popular back catalogue, as well as her endurance, that she can release her concerts on CD rather than just on DVD and still have it an enjoyable experience for her fans.
I wont comment too much on the DVD, as I did already cover the show back in 2011 shortly after attending the concert in Glasgow's Exhibition Centre. This show was filmed in London's O2 in June 2011 and scores 25 tracks, many of which are from the latest album Aphrodite. In keeping with her themed shows, Kylie takes to the stage in a glittering ancient Greek-style to present what is more than a mere pop concert. For 2 hours, one of the most appealing women in pop becomes Aphodite herself, commanding her team of dancing acrobats, back up singers, and live band to accompany her on a journey through the very best of her music. That said, much of the earlier material is ditched in favour of the dance heavy years with Parlophone.
Here, the concert is aired in its entirety with an additional flimsy documentary that neither really says much about Kylie, her music or the production of the show itself. We do meet a dancer, who might otherwise have been faceless, and get brief glimpses into the Kylie Minogue that we already know and adore. God forbid, she should take the opportunity of a documentary to strip away the layers that have kept her in favour for so long. Of course, she already did a 2 hour long documentary post-cancer film that served as an apparent glimpse into the private Kylie Minogue. We discovered on that occasion that she likes receiving her own goodies bags, often needs a nap after an exhausting two hour show, and throws herself into work in the face of adversity. On this occasion, we discover less!
The CD is actually the main focus of the release, and this review. Coming in a standard CD jewel case, rather than a DVD sized box, the concert is split into two discs that give us the same tracklist as the DVD. The question is whether Kylie delivers on a live level well enough to justify stripping away the visuals and the fanfare that usually surrounds her live shows. This isn't the first time she has released a live CD of her concerts. In 1998 she released her first live album "Intimate And Live", then in 2002 we got the bonus live CD "Fever02" with the DVD, 2007 saw her most successful live album "Showgirl Homecoming" hit the UK Top 10, and her album "Live In New York" gave us her first US live album in 2010.
As always, the most impressive aspect of Kylie's material comes when she reworks the old stuff. Much of the newer material are given standard treatments. It's on the older stuff that her Musical Director and co-writer Steve Anderson really gets to excel himself. Number 1 hits "Spinning Around", "Cant Get You Out Of My Head" and "Slow" are all superbly re-imagined, with Head turning into a glam-rock track that works better without the daft visuals that momentarily let the concert down on DVD, Spinning spun quite literally into the dance record it should have been, and Slow starting out as a sensual jazz number that eventually matures into another thudding dance moment for the world's number 1 disco dolly.
Elsewhere, she does a beautifully delivered cover of Prefab Sprouts "If You Don't Love Me" which she originally covered as a B-side to her hit "Confide In Me", and a sublime version of Eurythmics classic "There Must Be An Angel Playing With My Heart". It is, surprisingly, on these two performances, the aforementioned Confide, and a somewhat impromptu version of her own recent track "Better Than Today" that Kylie shows the most impressive vocals. If You Don't... is given a vocal that wouldn't be out of place on broadway, and those high notes that Annie Lennox does with such ease may not come so easily to Kylie, but here they still sound impressive and show a vocal from her that many don't give her credit for.
The newer material from her album Aphrodite is suitably sturdy, even if there are few surprises among that material. In fact, the only time the music or her vocals really let her down are on the over-performed "Better The Devil You Know" and a somewhat embarrassing and clumsy version of "What Do I Have To Do". Her best attempts to re-create those songs and slot them into the current sound fail her dismally, and they end up sounding samey and cluttered. However, on the rest of the back catalogue, including "On A Night Like This","Love At First Sight", and lesser known hit "The One", things drift along nicely, even without the added attraction of the set pieces.
Tracks on the CD are:
1. "The Birth of Aphrodite"
3. "The One"
6. "I Believe in You"
7. "Cupid Boy"
8. "Spinning Around"
9. "Get Outta My Way"
10. "What Do I Have to Do"
11. "Everything Is Beautiful"
13. "Confide in Me"
14. "Can't Get You Out of My Head"
15. "In My Arms"
16. "Looking for an Angel"
18. "There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)"
19. "Love at First Sight"/"Can't Beat the Feeling"
20. "If You Don't Love Me"
21. "Better the Devil You Know"
22. "Better Than Today"
23. "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)"
24. "Million Dollar Mermaid"
25. "On a Night Like This"
26. "All the Lovers"
The CD/DVD package are available from amazon.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Looking for an Angel (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
2 Closer (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
3 There Must be an Angel (Playing With My Heart) [Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies]
4 Love at First Sight / Can't Beat the Feeling (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
5 If You Don't Love Me (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
6 Better the Devil You Know (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
7 Better Than Today (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
8 Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) [Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies]
9 Million Dollar Mermaid (Intro) [Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies]
10 On a Night Like This (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
11 All the Lovers (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
12 Slow (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
13 Confide in Me (Intro) [Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies]
14 Confide In Me (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
15 Can't Get You out of my Head (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
16 In my Arms (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
17 Looking for an Angel (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
18 Closer (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
19 There Must be an Angel (Playing With My Heart) [Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies]
20 Love at First Sight / Can't Beat the Feeling
21 If You Don't Love Me (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
22 Better the Devil You Know (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
23 Better than Today (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
24 Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) [Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies]
25 Million Dollar Mermaid (Intro) [Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies]
26 On a Night Like This (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
27 All the Lovers (Live from Aphrodite/Les Folies)
28 Just Add Water (Documentary)