Monday, December 21, 2009

Kylie - Live In New York

I used to think there were two kinds of live albums. A select few give you a whole new insight into the artist, while the vast majority are best thought of as souvenirs for hardcore fans. In the past Kylie has delivered one of each. As far as I'm concerned 1998's "Intimate & Live" is an essential milestone in the pop icon's career. It's a vibrant snapshot of the diva at her most brave and creative. When friends question Min's artistic credentials I play them "Take Me With You" or "Free" and watch their jaws drop. The same can't really be said for "Showgirl Homecoming Live" - regardless of how much I love it. Sure, there are some gems (the original and BEST version of "White Diamond" and the truly epic mash of "Light Years" and "Turn It Into Love") but most of the time I just watch the DVD. After all, the concert was created as a visual extravaganza and it definitely loses something in translation. So to which category does the recently released "Live In New York" belong? Well, neither. It doesn't really offer anything new but it's bursting with such a sense of joy and occasion that it's impossible to resist. Think of this as a celebration for the singer and her fans alike - and as a perfect end to the (in my opinion) highly underrated and intriguing "X" era.

"For You, For Me" is only the second Kylie tour I've missed in the past 20 years (the other being 1991's UK only "Let's Get To It" extravaganza), so I can't comment on the dancers, costumes or special effects but the setlist is a pleasing hybrid of "Showgirl Homecoming" and "X2008". The highlights of "X" are carefully sprinkled between the legend's greatest hits - with a medley and a couple of mash-ups thrown in for good measure. You've basically heard it all before if you attended either of Kylie's previous tours but it must have been a heady mix for the Minogue starved American gays! The quality is uniformly excellent, so it's hard to pick favourites but I particularly love the new arrangement of "Confide In Me", while joyous renditions of "The One" (the lo-fi guitar intro is a great touch), "In My Arms" and "Wow" are a testament to enduring appeal of "X". However, if I had to choose the highlight of "Live In New York" it would be the "Everything Taboo" medley. This is a wet dream for old school fans. Time has not wearied the brilliance of "Shocked" and "What Do I Have To Do?" one iota, while "Spinning Around" always sounds remarkably better live (it's one of the very few Kylie songs that I absolutely hate).

Criticisms? Well, it's a scandal they didn't drag Jazzi P out of retirement to rap on the aforementioned rendition of "Shocked" but apart from that there's not a lot wrong with the album. I am slightly annoyed that Kylie's stunning US smash hit "All I See" missed the cut and I feel the urge to point out that the "Red Blooded Woman/Where The Wild Roses Grow" mash didn't work that well to begin with (and still sounds shit). If I was going to be an extremely picky bitch I'd complain about the increasingly tired jazz interpretations of "I Should Be So Lucky" and "The Locomotion" and express my annoyance at the omission of the amazing new track "Better Than Today". I assume that means it will be appearing on the diva's next studio album but I'll be writing a strongly worded letter to KDB Pty Ltd if it's discarded like "Flower", "Ruffle My Feathers" and the original "White Diamond"! However, all this nitpicking seems incredibly petty, particularly when you consider the album's greatest achievement - documenting the sense of celebration that permeates every second of the concert. Kylie is clearly having the time of her life and it's almost impossible not to go along for the ride. "Live In New York" is available to download from iTunes now.

An edit of Kylie's fabulous retro "Everything Taboo" Medley

10 comments:

Peibols said...

I almost agree, but no.
White Diamond Ballad Version makes my eyes wet. It's really touching.

And the studio versions are amazing.

AOTG said...

The new backing vocalist is FIERCE!

Though you'd think that with over a thousand tracks at her disposal and 48 commercial singles in the UK they would find something else to squeeze in to the end of the medley instead of some Loretta Holloway... even if it was just the usual Steve Anderson plug for Finer Feelings.

jaynie said...

Hey Mike, totally off topic I know, but thought you might like to hear that some of the major newspapers are participating in iTunes 12 Days of Christmas. Today's free gift...two songs from Vanessa Amorosi's Hazardous album!

(Alex) said...

I am definitely investing in this CD when I get the chance... I should have attended this specific concert it was recorded at seeing as I live little over an hour outside of NYC. Sadly, things did not work out in my favor and I couldn't even attempt to get a ticket at the time. Next time however~!! In any case, it is still great to hear some feedback on the lesser Minogue sister and her releases even if they aren't quite the same caliber as Dannii's one off, for the fans, CD singles and compilations. :-P

I have loved Kylie's music for as long as I can remember hearing it, even back to the days of "The Locomotion" and the music video that I remember seeing all over the place (even on the Disney Channel, I think) Such fun stuff... It was a shame that Kylie pretty much vanished from the US music scene up until Fever.

Sexbox said...

I agree with Alex. Kylie's live album will no doubt be overshadowed by the Succe$$ of Dannii's 95 sessions but I appreciate the fact Kylie is actualyl releasing this at all. And I also agree with Mike, omitting her numba wun smash hit "All I See" was a sin.

Daniel said...

I was lucky enough to see Kylie at Hammerstein Ballroom for her first night in New York (this album was recorded on her third and last night there), and I want to just say that what you mention, Mike, about the joy that permeates the recording was present times a thousand in person. The audience, an unbelievable mixture of young gays, old gays, and women of all ages (!) was clearly over the moon for Ms. Minogue and she gave everything back, feeding off the audience as though she were the Energizer Bunny to our collective battery. She had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand before the overture was even finished - and she wasn't even on stage yet!
The Everything Taboo medley was absolutely incredible live, although I wish she had the time to sing some of those songs in their full versions. Also a downside: Impossible Princess was completely ignored, as was Let's Get To It (outside of the medley), meaning an important piece of her career was not brought to life for her US fans. I for one would have loved to see her do Cowboy Style with some real-life, homegrown American cowboys! And I would have love to have heard the new songs from the X2008 tour live. But these are really small quibbles with the show, which was truly an arena-sized spectacle performed in an incredibly intimate space. I will never forget one single moment of the concert (especially that stunning rendition of The One, which I am so glad lives on in recorded form!).
Also - haven't heard this recording yet, but at the concert I was at, when Love At First Sight finished to close the encore, the house erupted in a scream the likes of which I have never heard before: The entire building quite literally shook with the force of all those gay screams! An unforgettable moment that I imagine cannot effectively be captured in a recording.

Mike said...

Pablo - you're from Huesca so your opinion is automatically invalid. I dislike the ballad version of 'White Diamond' almost as much as I hate the ballad version of 'I Believe In You'!

Jay - Love the backing vocalists too. I actually got a kick out of hearing Loleatta in the medley...

Jaynie - Finally some Ness Ness promo! LOL

Hey Alex - I want your Ghostbusters t-shirt. Yeah it's nice to write about the less talented Minogue occasionally. I've been obsessed since childhood. "Enjoy Yourself" was the first concert I ever saw. Unfortunately "Live In New York" is download only, so there's no CD. By the way, send me an email.

Eddie - Have you heard the 95 Sessions yet? Your sexbox will explode! I think I'm the only Kylie fan that loves 'All I See'. That tacky video does things to me...

Daniel - Thanks for the amazing comment. It's great to get a first hand account of the concert. I'm happy that America finally got a chance to experience the Minogue magic!

Mel said...

I cannot believe I had the chance to go to one of these shows and didn't. I must be about the stupidest person alive! :(

Justin said...

Saw the show in Vegas and it was one of the most amazing experiences in my life so far! Hope she graces the shores of the US again for her 2010 tour!

Michael said...

I agree - I refuse to listen to the jazzed version of Loco-Motion. I understand why she changes it up, but wish she wouldn't. And I STRONGLY agree on the arrangement of Confide in Me - LOVING IT!!!