Last Night: Kylie Minogue at Verizon Theatre

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Kylie Minogue
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
May 18, 2011

Better than: Tuesday Karaoke night at the Cedar Rapids Holiday Inn where the cocktail special is that they have cocktails.

The drinks were fruity. The guys were hot. And the atmosphere was Saturday night at a fabulous gay dance club, complete with black lights, balloons and boas. No, this wasn't some scene on Cedar Springs (despite the fact that almost the entire audience was made up of gorgeous gay men.) It was Kylie Minogue, 42, playing Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie last night.

And, from the very beginning, you know you are watching a show not a concert: The stage is set with a second, upper level filled with a series of Greek columns, behind which different videos play throughout the night. For just over two hours, it's scene after sometimes indecipherable scene of hunky boys, sexy girls, themed backdrops, and costumes that are just this side of bizarre.

Minogue comes on stage by rising from the "ocean" in a shell looking every bit like Botticelli's The Birth of Venus. She's dressed as a Greek goddess, with gold wings in her hair and sparkly gold sandals with laces tied up her leg. Makes sense: Tour is called Aphrodite Live, and all. Male dancers dressed as gladiators in gold, complete with shields dance onstage around her while animated Grecian pottery friezes play on the screen.

The dramatics are a bit cheesy, silly even. But they match the simple lyrics of the music. It's like a very peculiar karaoke fantasy. The strange thing is that Minogue simply doesn't seem to be into it. At all.

She is gorgeous and her make-up is impeccable (even on the big screen) but she seems downright bored. It's almost like she doesn't need to be there at all. The whole thing feel like an elaborate end-of-the-summer camp show, which she has no idea she's starring in. Just a pretty face along for the ride, sleepwalking.

The theater, meanwhile, is packed. It feels like being at S4, if S4 had a stage show. Every song is exactly the same with heavy bass and a great beat for dancing.

Finally, Minogue perks up: She channels Jessica Rabbit and starts fondling the mic suggestively. She all but performs an orgasm on stage and then, well, if you could pleasure a microphone, she was doing it.

For the first three quarters of the show it looked liked Minogue was just phoning it in. She was gorgeous. The scenes were at least mildly interesting. But she seemed like she was just going through the motions. Looking more like she was lip-synching than singing. Not that the audience cared. They danced and cooed and cheered from opening to closing number.

Then things turn. Minogue came alive. She went from beautiful statue to gorgeous entertainer.

"Dallas!" she screams, and everyone cheers.

She seems like she's really there. Finally.

She teases the audience about being "repeat offenders" for having come to see her more than once and even recognizes an envelope with her kiss on it from an "Out" magazine contest that an audience member is waving above his head.

"You want me to kiss that for you again?" she asks him, giggling.

She's like a whole new girl.

She asks for requests: "It's just you and me, you know," she says as all of her dancers have left the stage. In the standing room only "pit" section of the theater directly in front of the stage, she spots four guys in the front row all wearing t-shirts that read, "Your Disco Needs You," the name of one of her songs it turns out.

"Is that OK?" she asks the audience. They cheer in reply.

She's actually much better alone without the silly dramatics, which aren't big enough (think Gaga) to be cool. Without all the dancers and crazy costumes, she dances and goofs off with the audience. She's sweet. And she sings. This is a Kylie to love.

And one that loves back: "Dallas, I love you. Good night."

The crowd is absolutely buzzing. It's clear that they got exactly what they came for.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I got nothin'. (Except for the chorus to Can't Get You Outta My Head. Na na na na na na na na...)

By The Way: A Kylie-possessed, 40-something female fan with no rhythm but a heck of a lot of enthusiasm twisted her hips for the whole two-hour show in the row in front of me. It was bad, but in a really endearing way that I couldn't help but notice.

Random Note: The guy two seats down from me -- a reviewer, presumably, based on the notepad, pen, and frantic scribbling -- yelled, "I love her!" emphatically at least three times during the show.

Another Random Note: There was no line for the women's bathroom. None.

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