Kylie Minogue, Sonic Yootha: Echo Arena, Liverpool
The best night in Liverpool now comes with added Kylie. Shaun Ponsonby catches a bona fide national treasure in the act.
This is surreal.
Walking into the Echo Arena and seeing Ian, Shaun and John from Sonic Yootha blasting You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) to thousands of people must have had any regular Yootha attendee brimming with pride.
And there were plenty there. There was a crowd of them down at the front, their enthusiasm spreading throughout the arena. The added bonus of being more or less adjacent to Yootha’s spiritual home of 24 Kitchen St in the Baltic Triangle across the road made it extra special.
They pitched it perfectly. They have been on tour with Kylie for a number of weeks, and it seems as though they’ve perfected their set in that time. They slipped in a couple of indie tunes (Blur’s Girls and Boys stuck out), but they knew the crowd. Dead or Alive was followed by Erasure, Madonna’s Hung Up, Dancing Queen, Groove Is In The Heart, Let’s Dance. They did exactly what was needed from them, and to find them on an arena stage three years after they were kicked out of their first venue shows how quickly their community – and it is a community – has grown. We are Yootha, and they have always made us feel that way.
— Planet Slop (@PlanetSlop) October 3, 2018
There are so few artists who make their way into the public consciousness in the way that Kylie Minogue has, and the weight of her achievements shouldn’t be taken for granted. Australian soap star, to teen pin-up, to pop superstar and bona fide national treasure; it has been an extraordinary journey. Nobody who heard I Should Be So Lucky thirty years ago could have predicted this.
Perhaps one of the reasons is that she is not only finely tuned to her core audience, but she has a willingness to push forward. Most 50 year old stars (and yes, amazingly she is 50) are content to go on stage and half-heartedly pump out the hits. Kylie doesn’t do that. Her whole show is geared towards the new album, and most of it was on the set list.
Not only this, but the hits were rearranged to fit the show; Slow was mashed up with the Human League’s Being Boiled. Can’t Get You Outta My Head was somewhat country-fied and featured a coda of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain.
Even the simple dynamics of the songs were changed. Especially For You and Kids were traditionally male/female duets. But here, Kylie is dueting with her female backing singers, which give them an inadvertent queer perspective, as they sing lines like “I’m gonna give you all of my lovin’” to each other whilst dancing in unison.
This was underlined towards the end of the show, when a giant mirrorball was lowered from the ceiling and the Echo Arena was transformed into a makeshift Studio 54 for a disco section. In a sense, it felt like the show was building to this point; On a Night Like This, The Loco-Motion, Spinning Around. When the first blast of confetti hit, it appeared as a rainbow flag. Kylie might not be known as an outwardly political performer, but she has a way of getting her worldview into her performances.
As a sign of how immersed we were in Kylie’s world, it was only the next morning that we noticed the hits she didn’t play. Nobody was disappointed.
Perhaps the most powerful moment we experienced wasn’t a part of the show itself, but it spoke volumes of what Kylie has come to mean to people. Speaking to other audience members during the interval, one woman told us that she is a cancer survivor, and that Kylie’s strength coming through her own illness inspired her, and she credits Kylie for inspiring her in her own recovery.
Kylie Minogue is one of the genuine national treasures we have – an approachable superstar. Let’s not wait until we lose her to let her know it.
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