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Aphrodite: Les Folies Tour - Kylie Minogue

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Kylie Minogue's latest tour in support of her 'Aphrodite' album.

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      06.05.2011 12:52
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      The best Kylie tour [out of the ones I've seen]

      "I would like the tour to be like, you're on that sea... and there are the rushes and the dips, and you're just feeling the love. The vibe that I've put out there with 'All the Lovers', and that I'm getting back, is 'feel love, share love'. That's what I want the show to be" - Kylie Minogue.


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      The Concert
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      [The UK support act was new girlband Ultra Girls, but we had been enjoying the cocktail selection at Hard Rock Cafe beforehand and were late. We arrived for the last song and I don't think we missed anything good in all honesty]


      As the the main backdrop [a projection screen encased in a Greek temple shaped frame, showing some stunning clips of swimmers dancing underwater and synchronised swimmers] lights up and the musical introduction [taken from The Carnival Of The Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns] dies down, Kylie emerges up from below the stage in a clam [later entrances in the show include her perched on a throne and riding a golden Pegasus] to launch into the title track to her newest album and concert APHRODITE and sets the theme and pace of the show: Kylie's back to her disco dolly days professionally and she is happy and confident personally, so it's shiny, happy pop on the menu here.


      I'll start this section with what I thought was the highlight of the evening; her rendition of IF YOU DON'T LOVE ME. Prefab Sprout recorded it originally as an electronic pop single, but Kylie's version is a piano accompanied version - a brief respite from the booming poppy, bouncy beats in the evening's schedule. I loved that she just sat down and sang the song and there were no dancers on stage; the stripped bare performance highlighted how much her vocals have grown over the years. Sometimes simple is best. [Kylie's recorded version was a old B-side, but you can still find it as a bonus track on the two disc version of her self titled deConstruction album (it's also on her Hits + album)].


      THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL (PLAYING WITH MY HEART) is this shows non-Kylie recorded song of choice. Now no-one will ever reach the level of the Eurythmics original version, so it was a brave choice, but Kylie does deliver a strong performance. It fits in with the particular section of the concert [which started with Looking For An Angel] perfectly; it involves Kylie riding the back of a dancer dressed as an angel on wires over the VIP crowd* whilst singing CLOSER, before landing and launching into There Must Be An Angel.


      The jazz version of SLOW is wonderful - she has sung Slow for Showgirl, Showgirl: Homecoming and KylieX, so this new version was really refreshing to hear. It is like a different song and I must also say that the rotating and rising platform that surrounded Kylie was a genius touch. I've never seen anything like it before.


      Speaking of remixes; another remixed song that she performs is LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. She has included this song in the set list from every tour from Fever onwards, so I wasn't really thrilled at the prospect of hearing it again. However she cleverly mashes it up with CAN'T BEAT THIS FEELING - a rather dull Aphrodite filler track on it's own. Other songs which she always does, so have been updated are CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD (uses subtle elements from Muse 'Uprising) and ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS (uses subtle elements from Bryan Adams' 'Heaven') .

      The musical intro to CONFIDE IN ME was also something that has stayed with me and the band was fantastic on the main part of the song. Confide is a song she nearly always performs so I should be bored by now as I am with other songs, but this was a version that I've never heard before. I've loved it just as much as If You Don't Love Me.

      WOW also gets an extended intro, which is used for a cool dance sequence whilst Kylie has a costume change. I don't rate the single, so I like the rockier remix [I may be wrong, but I think the intro incorperates the Death Metal Disco Scene remix of Wow (found on the single)], and how the dancers are dressed as Roman soldiers for this section.


      Apart from deConstruction's Confide In Me and If You Don't Love Me, the only other two pre Parlophone tracks on the set list are the PWL era singles WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO and BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. I think her older tracks don't fit in and flow naturally with most of her Parlophone material, so I'm not sure how everyone came to the conclusion that What Do I Have To Do was worth including, as whilst Confide In Me and Better The Devil You Know are always crowd pleasers that don't age, What Do I Have To Do has aged somewhat. The lack of older material may upset older fans who love the classics, but I was pleased that she let her overplayed back catalogue behind for this tour to focus on newer stuff.


      Kylie also sang BETTER THAN TODAY on the evening that I went, though I don't think that she performs it for every show. Then again she didn't sing The One during our X2008 concert night a few years ago, so we're even on that score now. I don't like the studio version [and judging by the reaction to the single, most of the public don't either], but hearing it live gives the song that X Factor and spark that the recorded version lacks.

      Another song that I thought was much nicer live was ILLUSION - and she actually dances in the central breakdown rather then just wave her arms and bum around, which she can be prone to do in live performances.


      The only part of the concert that bored me was her performing LOOKING FOR AN ANGEL. Which songs you like are personal choices, but I thought it was the worst track on her Aphrodite album, in fact it's one of her worst songs ever in my opinion. And during this song a dancer who is dressed as an angel is lifted in the air on wires, whilst Kylie gazes adoringly upwards and raises her hand to him, with I found corny.

      Another irritant was when she asked the crowd if they wanted to hear any particular song and apparently she heard someone request a song that drives me insane and wouldn't luck have it? The band just so happened to have the music handy. Hip-bloody-hooray. Which is the sad story of how The Locomotion was once again inflicted on my ears. Yes; it's a 'classic', but she always performs it on tour and even though she remixes it, it is still dull and like I said above I just don't think that it fits in with most of her Parlophone material smoothly [she has performed Hand On Your Heart and Your Disco Needs You for other shows].

      I also have to wonder why she performed eleven tracks from the Aphrodite but couldn't fit in the only track left on it - Too Much. This is another personal gripe, but I'm not keen on half of the album tracks so I would have loved one of them to have been swapped for this.


      Looking beyond the set list I just want to comment on how Kylie and her dancers cover the expanse of the stage and walkway for the songs in a seemingly natural way - it doesn't seem like they're desperately trying to cover empty space just to give us something to look at, even though that's exactly what they're doing. And it's not just dancing; at one point Kylie is pulled around the walkway by her male dancers on a chariot [I BELIEVE IN YOU] and rides on the back of a dancer over the stage [Closer]. Plus there are also nine aerial acrobats and tons of exciting sequences on the projection screen.


      Lastly; I was pleasantly surprised by Kylie's vocals. In past shows she can sound nasal live and on the Aphrodite album her vocals were very - umm - chirpy, but she is in top form on this tour - at least she was the night that I attended. The only slight issue I had was how heavily the backing singers were involved with the encore, but then again Kylie is negotiating a damp stage in 5" heels by that point so her concentration was spilt. Also; the volume levels were off and keep rising and lowering. Nothing to do with the singers or band, but it kept niggling away at me.


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      Was it worth seeing?
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      I've been to see Kylie in her Fever 2002, Showgirl, Showgirl; Homecoming and X2008 tours, but whilst I've liked them to various degrees, I've not loved them. I've thought that the set pieces and the track lists have been a bit random and parts of the concerts have been disjointed and somewhat boring as a result. I wasn't going to bother seeing Aphrodite: Les Folies as a result [and the fact that I was disappointed by the album], but as three mates were going I did tag along. My quick verdict is that it is the most polished Kylie concert that I've seen.

      Whilst Showgirl: Homecoming and X2008 in particular felt like shows for the sake of shows, Aphrodite: Les Folies feels almost scaled back; Don't get me wrong, she still puts on a show, but the backdrops aren't ever changing, the Dolce & Gabbana designed costumes aren't trying to make any statements. In short everything fits together and flows smoothly along and doesn't overshadow the most important things - the songs [on a personal note, for me the Aphrodite: Les Folies set list has the fewest tracks that I dislike].


      Kylie may not have the ability to sing and dance at once like Beyonce and she can't connect with the audience quite as well as Lady GaGa, but she's back on form as she's noticeably become more confident and relaxed and is having fun, instead of constantly trying to outdo herself.


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      The set list
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      Aphrodite
      The One
      Wow
      Illusion
      I Believe In You
      Cupid Boy
      Spinning Around
      Get Out Of My Way
      What Do I Have To Do
      Everything Is Beautiful
      Slow
      Can't Get You Out Of My Head
      Confide In Me
      In My Arms
      Looking For An Angel
      Closer
      There Must Be An Angel
      Can't Beat The Feeling / Love At First Sight
      If You Don't Love Me
      Better The Devil You Know
      Better Than Today
      Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)
      On A Night Like This
      All The Lovers


      * Maybe its just me, but I don't see the attraction with paying over £200 for standing room only tickets, where you get drowsed with jets of water at the end of the show.

      After the show we waited for the exiting crowds to die down, we got a good look at the drenched, puddle covered concrete where the VIP crowd had been. It was a substantial amount of water,more then we'd thought there would be.

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      • More +
        21.04.2011 22:09
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        Another blinding live show by Kylie Minogue

        Some would say that Kylie Minogue's ever expanding tour budget is a clever rouse to disguise the lack of evolvement in her shiny brand of pop. Once keen to escape her air headed sparkly pop, she seems content these days to reveal nothing about the real Kylie and allow herself to be a blank canvas for a troupe of pop producers. Whist Aphrodite last year took her back to number 1 (her fifth UK number 1 album), the disinterest in the subsequent singles has shown a rare apathy to the golden girl of pop. She has never been an envelope pusher, even her Impossible Princess album could be accused of borrowing from the Brit pop scene that exploded in the mid 90's, her strength has nearly always been the perfect presentation of her releases. At 42, she remains a beauty, and there is certainly no disputing the fact that the songs are as perfectly performed as they could be from somebody once cited the singing budgie.

        On the back of the Aphrodite album, Kylie once again embarked on a large scale tour of Europe (and subsequently America and Australia later this year). Ending up in Glasgow on the 28th, 29th and 30th March, tickets were priced at the rather inflated song of £65 (£200 if you wanted to get soaked in the splash zone). Borrowing images from the famous era of Aphrodite (clearly where the album title comes from) Kylie was hoisted onto the stage upon a giant golden clam to roars of approval from an ever enduring and adoring audience. The title track, followed by a couple of songs from previous album X, saw an understated but well received entrance that saw Kylie surrounded by hunky dancers, a duo of female backing singers who supported her beautifully, and a band that know Kylie's work like the back of their hand. Yes, Kylie Minogue is, and always has been, faithfully live.

        As the show proceeded, more images from the Greek era of love provided a stunning backdrop amidst an overblown stage setting that consisted of a Pegasus, flying swans, acrobats, synchronised swimmers, a giant temple and an eventual explosion of water fountains that saw this escalated to the gayest, but most sensational concert show I've ever seen. Kylie Minogue didn't just top herself, she topped the barometer of pop concerts. Lady Gaga and Britney will have to wait 20 years before they might be inclined to top this. Madonna had better take note. Whilst not the strongest singer in a world full of octave-balancing diva's, Kylie is note perfect and sings every word live. A slight tendency on a couple of tracks to lean on the backing singers too heavily might be the only complaint regarding her singing.

        Another complaint might be the reliance on Hi-NRG beats. Kylie has famously re-created many of her early songs as torch drama's, jazz numbers and re-invented dance numbers for her modern audience. The abandonment of her early material left the show without much in the way of irony. Perhaps that's how she intended it. The presence of only the classic Better The Devil You Know, and the oddly placed What Do I Have To Do were the only representation of her early days with Stock Aitken & Waterman. She did throw in a couple of verses of Locomotion, as an apparent impromptu, which raised the roof.

        It was Kylie's current Aphrodite material that provided the backdrop to the show. Surprisingly, there were no unreleased ditty's thrown in for the fans, but the current singles and half a dozen other tracks from the album were ample enough to fill out half the show. Not content to give us the bare bones of her current fairly successful album, she also belted through a dozen other best of tracks from the past decade. A discofied Spinning Around got the feet moving and a rocked up Cant Get You Out Of My Head got the audience in a screaming frenzy. Head would not have been out of place at a rock concert, and borrowed heavily from Coldplays version that they performed in tribute to her at Glastonbury, but put among Kylie's camp setlist, it was utterly glamorous.

        Possibly the best moments came with the surprises though. 'There Must Be An Angel' was given the Kylie treatment as she descended (from the air upon the back of a giant floating dancer dressed as a huge swan) onto a strategically placed rising stage in the middle of the arena. Kylie wouldn't try to emulate the brilliant Annie Lennox's voice, as that would be a task too difficult, but it was all the more superb for her own touches. Sat upon the the stairs alone towards the end of the show, she belted out a heartrending version of 'If You Don't Love Me'. A cover originally released on her Confide In Me single, she sang it accompanied only by a piano and gave a performance that wouldn't have been out of place in Les Miserables.

        Elsewhere, Confide In Me, In My Arms, and an electrifying On A Night Like This provided suitable back up to the current material. Screen projections were beautifully unleashed in support of the many songs, but it was the water fountains that belted out in sync to the last two songs that really took the arena to a whole other level. Shooting from the catwalk into the audience, a few of those £200 paying guests would have left elated and wet. The final performance upon the mid-arena stage of All The Lovers saw her surrounded by a troupe of swimming dancers and wet acrobats to compliment the rotunda of water fountains that rose and splashed beneath her. It truly was like Aphrodite rising from the Greek fountain of love.

        There were moments where the sound technicians didn't get it quite right. Kylie's voice occasionally fell below the volume of the band. Dare I say it was down to the technical aspect of things, as she was fully controlled in her singing, and her dancing even managed to impress in places. Other surprises included a jazzed down Slow which exploded midway into a huge electro dance number as Kylie and her dancers spun aboard a rising disc. This was just some of the spectacular images on display as she roared out 25 songs throughout the evening. The only low point for me was a nasally I Believe In Your as Kylie was pulled along the split catwalk upon a carriage by her dancers.

        I still long for a stripped down live performance, of which she has proven she is capable of. Just check you tube out to see her recent acoustic performances on Radio 1 and 2 to see that she is a fully accomplished vocalist. You don't have to have Whitney Houston's voice to be called a singer, and what a shame that Kylie's tiny frame and her pixie like voice blind people to the fact that she has become an excellent trained vocalist. My last point to make is that if she IS charging upwards of £65 for a ticket, then I'm not disappointed by the fact that much of the money appears to have made its way onto the stage. Aphrodite Live truly was a sequel to Showgirl, and Kylie Minogue didn't disappoint.

        Tracklist
        Aphrodite
        The One
        Wow
        Illusion
        I Believe In You
        Cupid Boy
        Spinning Around
        Get Out Of My Way
        What Do I Have To Do
        Everything Is Beautiful
        Slow
        Cant Get You Out Of My Head
        Confide In Me
        In My Arms
        Looking For An Angel
        Closer
        There Must Be An Angel
        Cant Beat The Feeling / Love At First Sight
        If You Don't Love Me
        Better The Devil You Know
        The Locomotion
        Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel In Love)
        On A Night Like This
        All The Lovers

        For those of you who missed the opportunity to see it, Sky1HD are airing the complete show on 19 June 2011. The show was filmed in 3D and there are rumours of a 3D blu-ray. I'll be pleased to see it again as there was much going on on the stage that I may have missed.

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