Show Review: Kylie Minogue at The Fox Oakland, 9/30/09

by Gordon Elgart on September 30, 2009

The stage was hardly big enough to contain Kylie's show.

The stage was hardly big enough to contain Kylie's show.

First off, a spoiler warning.  Although usually seen in movie reviews, I think one applies here.  If you don’t want to know what songs she played, how many costume changes there were, and how she reworked some of her classic songs, then read no further.  If, on the other hand, you want to know what’s coming soon, or you aren’t going to have a chance to see for yourself, jump on board, take a ride, yeah.

When I arrived at the Fox at 6:15 tonight, the line to get in was enormous.  I don’t know how long people had been waiting to see Kylie (20 years, I guess for some), but there was an absolute electricity in the air.  This was going to be big.  Then the front of house manager explained to us that this was the biggest show yet put on at The Fox, and may be the biggest one it will ever do.  And oh my, was it ever.

At 8:30, the lights went down and we heard an overture of film music.  This is the pre-roll and lets everyone know to hurry up and get to their seats.  Then, the music to “Light Years” kicked in as a giant silver skull started descending from the rafters.  And who was on that skull?  Why Kylie Minogue of course.  Costume one:  A cyberpunk thing with feathers and an odd hat that looked like orbiting planets. The crowd went absolutely bonkers.  This was the first of many times that the crowd would go absolutely bonkers.

When the dancers came out dressed like Sorayama paintings, and began their choreographed moves with Kylie, every single dance step was met with huge amounts of applause and screaming.  The show has barely begun.  After a dirty disco rendition of “Come Into My World,” she finished the cyberpunk portion of the show with “In Your Eyes.”

She then came back out and did a medley of some of her Stock Aitken Waterman hits.  Costume two: sexy leather with shiny vest, cute and sexy. After this medley, she came back out in another costume.  Costume three: sexy cruise director borrowing the captain’s hat. She proceeded to play more hits, and this is where “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” showed up, not the end like might be expected.  During the sailing portion of the show (in which her background dancers were wearing catcher’s masks and Folsom gear), she finally introduced a three-piece horn section, making her stage entourage complete.  Because I kept count, I can tell you there was:  a drummer, bass player, guitarist, keyboard player, two background singers, three horn players, and eight ridiculous dancers.

During the next break, the giant video screens started showing shirtless guys showering.  The crowd starting whistling and hollering.  Then the screens went up to reveal her four male dancers, shirtless, underneath stage showers.  They fake showered for a bit, and then they did a bunch of crazy shirtless gymnastic antics before revealing Kylie and her latest costume for the next set of songs.  Costume four:  black rhinestone-laden leotard and black/nude tights. I decided somewhere along the way, and wrote it in my notebook here, that Kylie was honestly having a great time, and wasn’t just faking it.  I can imagine she had some doubt about the reception she might get from American audiences, and the crowd was so audibly appreciative, I think she was sincerely taken aback.

Before I knew it, the set changed again, and this time Kylie was revealed sitting on a giant couch inspired by early Hollywood musicals.  Costume five:  Hollywood musical gown.  Stylish. She sang some slower songs here, and took on the role of a classic film star.  It was pretty classy.  They even dropped paper rose petals as she finished “I Believe in You.”  So where do you go from classy?

Costume six: My fashion knowledge is too limited to know what this is called other than hot black stage lingerie. This next set was the “I’m Kylie Minogue and I’m damned sexy” part.  First off, you’d need to have been sleeping through the show not to notice already that Kylie Minogue is an extremely attractive woman who actually sings live.  This already makes her the sexiest pop star alive.  So when she did the stripper-music version of “Locomotion” including some great “swing your hips now” action, it was just showing off at this point.  When she pulled out the song “Kids,” Robbie Williams did not appear on stage, and his part was played by one of her background singers.  (They left out Robbie’s rap.  It wasn’t missed.)

Finally everyone left the stage.  The crowd went ballistic.  Personally, I both shouted and twittered “Kylie! Kylie! Kylie! Kylie!” She came back out all on her own–no dancers or lasers–and did an energetic version of “Better the Devil You Know” with lots of opportunity for crowd participation.  Costume seven: That shiny black leotard again, but this time with plain black tights. Then she brought back her dancers for a curtain call (they were all wearing “I <3 KM” t-shirts, available at the merch booth) before finishing with “The One” and “Love at First Sight.”

This was easily the best show I’ve seen at The Fox in Oakland, and may be the best for some time.  Kylie Minogue is a great performer, and the entire show is so much bigger than the room, it can blow away anyone who might come into contact with it.  I’m glad to have been there, and I’m glad to be going back tomorrow.  If you’re wavering about paying some ungodly price to go, but it’s actually in your price range, I say take a deep breath and go for it.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Enjoy this set list photo from Jon Pirro, who got it from the sound guy:

Completely accurate, unlike other setlists floating around online.

Completely accurate, unlike other setlists floating around online.

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We also attended the October 1st show.  Dakin Hardwick’s review is here.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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