Show Review: Kylie Minogue at The Fox Oakland, 10/01/09

by Dakin Hardwick on October 2, 2009

Locomotion

Tonight was all about The Locomotion for me.

Kylie Minogue. The sound of her name conjures images of bubbly goodness. As my memory serves, I celebrated my 9th birthday at Round Table Pizza, and insisted that we put “The Locomotion” on the jukebox. It’s the song with the dance in the lyrics that I have always wanted to see performed. I kept waiting for her to play a concert. This was 1988.

In 1998, I decided to look up Kylie Minogue. Since I am an American, she hadn’t had a song on the radio in a decade. That’s when I learned that she plays stadiums in the rest of the world, and is a huge star still. I also learned that she was in “Bio-Dome”. So I watched it and pretended that I’m nine again. In 2002, she has some hits in America. I decide that I’m going to see Kylie when she comes around. Doesn’t happen. Rumors of American tours pop up on the Internet for the bulk of the decade. And finally, in 2009, it happens. I finally see Kylie Minogue. I buy a ticket right away, only not fast enough. I miss the first show in America. I bought a ticket for the second. Tonight, I finally learn how to do The Locomotion.

Her entrance was spectacular. She opened with “Light Years,” performed from atop a skull that came down from the ceiling. The room was filled with lasers. She segued that straight in to “Speakerphone.” After a quick hello, her band and dancers fell straight in to “Come In To My World.” It was the perfect triple header to begin what would become a perfect pop show.

Her energy was unbelievable. The songs kept moving. She had the energy of a sixteen-year old mixed with the polish of the 25-year showbiz veteran that she is. She also looked absolutely stunning. I found it hard to believe that less than five years ago, she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

She also understands how to pace a show. The hits were mixed with the fan favorites, and despite the numerous costume changes, the show never slowed down. She did occasionally medley together songs that I would have liked to hear in fleshed out versions, but all in all, she managed to be all things to all people.

The stage set was a beast into itself. She had five moving LED screens, in addition to the aforementioned lasers, which only made their presence known when they needed to. It was the kind of show light show that one would expect to see in an arena, not confined to a 3,000-seat theater. In fact, the whole show played as if it were an arena show, yet it also felt very intimate.

Her band was also quite excellent. She had a very traditional rock band set up, although a good portion of the music was produced by the keyboardist. Her voice was in great condition, and I can almost guarantee that the majority of the vocals were performed live. She also utilized her back up vocalists much more than most pop shows. They were given some light choreography, and were put in the front of the stage on several occasions.

A few highlights:

The song “Red Blooded Woman” was performed with all of her male dancers writhing around each other, doing push-ups, and strip-teasing a bit. This was a nod to the majority of her audience, which was primarily gay men. (The ratio of men to women at this show was about two-to-one.) In the middle of this decidedly populist show, she pulled out the Kylie-nerd card, and did something they may have only made me happy- She sang a verse and the chorus to “Where The Wild Roses Grow,” her 1994 duet with fellow Australian Nick Cave, off of his record Murder Ballads. This was a huge surprise to me! And, better than getting killed at the end, she is whisked away by four handsome, buff dancers. Since this is her show, I am happy she got her ending.

She only moved away from the dance numbers for a short bit where she sang on a couch, with the Golden Gate Bridge illuminating behind her. She sang “White Diamond” in a pretty straight forward manner, and took that straight in to a Kate Bush-inspired reading of “Confide In Me,” before calming back down for a version of “I Believe In You” that could have brought you to tears.

The ultimate highlight of the evening for me came next. She walked off for another costume change, and they played “Burning Up” over the PA. She then came out to do a big band reading of “The Locomotion” wearing lingerie. Her female dancers wore pasties, and her male dancers wore corsets. The costumes seemed like they were clipped right out of Moulin Rouge, where the arrangement was reminiscent of Madonna’s Dick Tracy songs.  But it was the choreography that really impressed me. The dancing had been good so far, but this was taking it to the next level. Every lyric was taken literally, from the swinging of the hips, to the jumping up and back. When she sang “Now That You Can Do It, Let’s Make A Chain Now” all of the dancers linked together on the floor. And when she sang the next line, “Chug-a-chug motion like a railroad train now,” well, I couldn’t describe what happened in a family news site like this one. This was one of those defining moments of my concert going life.

The main set ended up closing with the song “In My Arms,” but the audience really wasn’t about to let her go so easily.The stomping and cheering to bring her back actually caused the floor to vibrate. In fact, this may have been the single most adoring crowd I have ever been in. (The 25 year wait certainly didn’t hurt this fact.) Every move she made caused people to scream hysterically. The few times she addressed the crowd, the crowd was so loud that you could barely decipher her words.

The entire show ended–a bit over 2 hours from when it began–with the song “Love at First Sight.” It was a perfect ending to a perfect night, and I hope she fell in love with her first set of shows in America. I really don’t want to wait for 2034 to come around before we see her again. Of course, in another 25 years she will still be performing, and will probably look even more lovely.

Our contributing photographer Emily Anderson snapped a few photos for us:

And, since I can’t resist bringing up The Locomotion again, here you go:

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We also attended the September 30th show.  Gordon Elgart’s review is here.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gordon Elgart October 2, 2009 at 12:37 am

Just some quick remarks since I went to both shows:

– The setlist was identical.

– The costume for the encore was different tonight. Last night was a lot simpler than tonight when she wore a white dress/suit that reminded me of something Olivia Newton-John would have worn in Xanadu.

– Kylie was a lot more talkative and generally looser tonight. It's like she knew what to expect from the crowd from the beginning and just let herself have a good time, rather than worry about how the show might be received.

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Brad October 2, 2009 at 7:53 am

Thanks for the review. I'm so glad you appreciated the show!

Note: She was in Streetfighter – not Super Mario Bros.

Note: Both were terrible. 😛

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Dakin October 2, 2009 at 10:14 am

Actually, Bio-Dome was what I was thinking off.

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