It was all our friend Gary’s fault in the first place: if he hadn’t popped up early last week asking if I’d seen the announcement about Kylie Minogue’s K25 ‘Anti-Tour’ I’d have spent the week in blissful ignorance, been £160 better off and had a good night’s sleep last night. Then again, I’d have been absent from one of the most amazing gigs I’ve ever attended.
Kylie’s been around for yonks – 25 years give or take a few months – and to ‘celebrate’ she wanted to do another tour. Not the big pomp-and-ceremony hundreds-of-costume-changes epic-stage-set type thing but just her and a band, doing B-sides and ‘rarities’. Three gigs were announced: two at Manchester Academy (a 2000-capacity venue) and one at Hammersmith Apollo (around 5000 capacity). The tickets sold out in less than 10 minutes – phew!
The band came onstage at 8:30pm and already off to a good start: I didn’t recognise the first song Magnetic Electric (that had to wait for Made In Heaven and Cherry Bomb) but I don’t think it bothered the crowd who were bouncing away (with the exception of the idiot in front of us with the camera, do I bloody attract them or something?). The lass worked her way admirably through the set and when she started a chunk including Drunk (a track from the much-underrated album Impossible Princess) she just blew me away.
What really impressed me was the frankness of it all and the absence of any scripted dialogue – the band chatted to each other and joshed, Kylie was in the thick of it. She announced at one point she’d decided to try another song and she couldn’t remember the lyrics so Googled them (“…and I apologise if they’re wrong, they’re always wrong when you Google them aren’t they?”) before launching into an acapella version of something else obscure. Wow. It’s always easy to forget the sheer talent when there’s a massive staged production such as the Aphrodite tour we saw at Manchester MEN Arena last year, but there was no Spinning Around, no I Should Be So Lucky, not much which bothered the charts in 25 years – just her favourite stuff hardly ever performed on stage accompanied by the occasional anecdote.
The audience joined in a lot, singing along even to the more obscure numbers and sometimes launching into songs not on the setlist. Unfazed, Kylie joined in, mumbling when she couldn’t remember words or music, yet at one point the keys player worked out what she was up to and started accompanying. She finished up after a solid hour-and-forty with Tears On My Pillow and Enjoy Yourself as gold confetti showered the audience, the only concession to glamour.
Admittedly, when I booked tickets they were an impulse purchase and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect: I’d seen a leaked rumoured setlist and recognised a few from older albums as well as a couple from really early PWL days and the odd B-side, but Googling song names revealed little. With it being ‘real’ fans it was a splendid evening and easily ranks in my top 3 gigs.
She’s on tonight again in Manchester, and then in London at Hammersmith Apollo. Good luck getting tickets – they’re like hen’s teeth, and ‘proper’ Kylie fans will eventually regret ‘not being there’. I was there, and I don’t regret it… worth every penny.