Kylie Minogue Aphrodite: Les Folies
On Friday we went to see Kylie Minogue at the 02 Arena.
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We were a little concerned as we’d heard demand for the Antipodean Aphrodite hadn’t been as high as expected, but our fears faded as we reached Greenwich station the straight girl/gay best friend combos came out of the woodwork in full force.
Tickets were thrust at us and we were herded past security checks and into the 02 or, actually, what appeared to be some bizarre space village, complete with Starbucks, restaurants, and one particularly bedraggled-looking night club. We had visions of becoming trapped in a time-space continuum, forever destined to drink £7 bottles of cider, and listen to Kylie until she wilted and sagged and staggered out on stage with a zimmer frame.
Sci-fi musings aside, Kylie’s whole performance was utterly, aggressively, wonderfully, stupidly ridiculous. In fact performance is the wrong word. Spectacle? Extravaganza? Charade? At two minutes in, the naked torso quota had already reached saturation, Kylie had risen up on a vast golden conch shell, and half the gays in the audience (35% of the audience in general then) were crying with shamelessly undisguised adulation.
The inspiration for the tour is ancient Greece, apparently. We’re not quite sure where that came from. We like to think she got the idea in a dusty museum whilst summering in Athens, but it was probably halfway through a rerun of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and a plate of houmus and celery. There was a brief Arabian nights diversion we enjoyed very much, in which gold-leafed scantily clad men gyrated to sitars while Kylie peered coyly from behind a shawl. We’re sure the British Muslim council would’ve approved.
As if that all weren’t enough, she flew. She fucking flew. In fact, actually, she didn’t merely fly, she’s too good for that, she rode a musclebound ebony Adonis (side saddle) and sung, while HE flew, on white, string-supported angel wings. She was also tugged around the arena on a chariot, hoisted onto the shoulders of roman soldiers, and flung onto the back of a massive gold Pegasus statue. All while singing and, you know, being Kylie.
While this was all very impressive though, it was just all just a bit MUCH. There was a vast amount going on, and she’s only little. Sometimes we’d lose her among undulating mermaids and have to search for a few seconds before she popped out breathlessly from behind an Athenian pillar. The point of it all seemed less about her and more about the heinously over the top mythical debauchery going on around her.
Despite this though, there were undeniable highlights, most notably a breathy rendition of Slow from atop a spinning plinth, and an odd interval where the lights came up and she had a chat with the audience and coyly pretended to forget some lyrics. It was also quite sweet that, among all the fantastical frivolity, she found time to introduce the band (“We’ve got John on the piano and Dave on bass. How are you Dave?” “Yeah, good thanks Kylie.”) We won’t say too much about the finale, but to suffice to say it involves water, writhing semi-naked bodies, acrobatics, more garlands, gold, togas, more flying, and made us laugh and say “oh, come ON.”