Princess of pop retains her title amid extravaganza

KYLIE MINOGUE has survived many things in her time. A career in the Australian soap, Neighbours. Worldwide fame as a Stock Aiken Waterman protegee and pop princess.

Not to mention cancer. Perhaps her greatest achievement has been to make survival look easy. At 42, she’s back with the hit album Aphrodite and a world tour whose extravagance puts many artists half her age to shame.

At the O2 in Dublin for the first of two dates, things kick off a little after 9pm. The curtains are whisked away to reveal a Grecian facade, with musicians on each side and a phalanx of dancers posing as statues on its steps. A drumbeat starts, the dancers spring into life, and then Kylie appears. On an enormous gold scallop shell, no less, much like Botticelli’s Venus. The opening track is Aphrodite, but no matter. If anyone is entitled to play fast and loose with mythology, it is surely Kylie.

Aphrodite is followed by The One then Wow and Illusion, before Kylie leaves the stage for the first of numerous costume changes. She returns in a shimmering silver number, sitting astride an enormous winged horse, from which she descends to stride about the stage with her dancers while belting out I Believe In You. She finishes by climbing aboard a chariot, pulled around about by four muscular men.

There’s time for another quick costume change, with Kylie reappearing in a black lacy dress and a top hat for a brace of tracks that kicks off with Cupid Boy then segues into Spinning Round and Get Out Of My Way. Always a warmer performer than Madonna, and infinitely more engaging a figure than Lady Gaga, Kylie can’t help but smile when the crowd roars its approval. Clearly, she’s enjoying the spectacle around her as much asanyone. Her next costume change sees her return in a long white dress and a crown of stars.

A section of the stage is raised and spins around while Kylie and her dancers perform at an improbable angle. The set design for the Aphrodite — les Folies tour is reputed to have cost a whopping £16 million (€18m). There are 20 performers and as many as 200 costume changes. It is difficult to calculate how many of these are effected by Kylie herself. The lion’s share, no doubt; Kylie remains a performer for whom more is defiantly more.

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