At: Agganis Arena, last night
By James Reed
There she was, perched high atop the stage flanked by gladiator men and warrior women straight out of ancient times. When Kylie Minogue appeared dressed as the Greek goddess Aphrodite, a pair of wings around her ears, a huge smile stretched across her face. She tried to conceal it, but that grin acknowledged that her fans had been waiting a long time for this moment.
On her maiden voyage to Boston, stopping at the Agganis Arena last night, the Australian pop star brought a two-hour spectacle that made you wonder why it has taken her so long to tour the United States. (A global superstar since the late 1980s, she is on her first extensive North American tour.) If the attendance was ho-hum -- maybe two-thirds of the 5,000 seats were full -- at least the crowd's enthusiasm was high and the sing-alongs spirited.
Kicking off with "Aphrodite," the title track from Minogue's latest album, the show was heavy on new material that fit neatly into the hulking stage production. Her cast, as Minogue called it, featured a gaggle of fierce dancers, aerial performers dangling overheard, two back-up singers, and a four-piece band.
Still, all eyes were on Minogue, 42, and she was in regal form as both entertainer and singer. You quickly lost count of the costume changes (a crumpled dress seemingly made of crushed prisms was eye-popping), the come-hither glances, the pelvic thrusts.
Occassionally, though, the pomp and circumstance obscured Minogue's greatest talent: connecting with the audience. This show requires a supreme amount of static posturing and precise choreography, sometimes to the point of stunting the momentum. It was telling that the most engaging moments ("Love at First Sight," a straightforward rendition of her first big hit, "The Loco-Motion") occurred when the clutter cleared and Minogue took center stage.
"Slow" was even slower than the original version, revamped into a coy jazz tease; close your eyes, and you would have sworn Marilyn Monroe was singing it before the song morphed into a throbbing slab of techno pop. She was less convincing and comfortable on "If You Don't Love Me," an unadorned piano ballad meant to convey intimacy but instead played up the thinness of her voice.
Minogue updated "Can't Get You Out of My Head," her best-known hit in this country, with a lean rock arrangement. It was the first time the band -- consisting of bass, drums, guitar, and keyboards -- commanded more attention than the spectacle swallowing it. "Boston, sing!" Minogue demanded, and the crowd obliged, making the Agganis one big echo chamber of "la la la" on the chorus.
As "All the Lovers," another new song, tapered off, Minogue disappeared on a triumphant note that begged a final question: Must we wait another 20 years for her to return?
James Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Sound Effects
ContributorsSarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Julian Benbow is a staff writer at the Boston Globe, covering sports and music.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.