I know this review is a bit late and I still need to get to my reviews of the “Kristina” shows from Carnegie Hall, but I’m trying to fit in the time when I can. So apologies to my readers anxiously anticipating my reviews.
I wasn’t expecting my chance to see Kylie Minogue in person to be such a last minute affair, but I had been hoping my new Blackjack Training program I am I developing would not only be released long before this concert, but it would also help brining in the funds to purchase much better seats for the show. But as the concert has come and past and the project is still not yet ready to launch, I ended up scrambling last minute to make sure I had the night of October 4th off work, and purchased some tickets. I decided I wasn’t that fussed about having great seats, as I felt it was just more important to be there. So I bought a couple of the cheapest tickets available so my good friend Rod Reynolds and I could see the Australian pop diva bring her first ever United States tour. I didn’t know it at the time I bought the tickets but they were second row seats……second row from the back.
The Hollywood Bowl is a huge venue that according to Wikipedia has seating for an audience as large as 17,376. A seating chart shows the various sections and the seats I got were in section N1. Click here to see a seating chart. The N1 section didn’t seem so bad on the chart since it’s in the center area and there’s two whole sets of sections behind it. But it was certainly an interesting experience. To make the bowl appear more full, they actually bring in tall potted trees to park them in front of closed sections. so directly behind us in N1 and all the way along the back wall of that section were these potted trees to block the view of the rear two major sections. But what was funny to me was that in the larger section we were in only the 2 center sections M1 and N1 were filled, everything to the right and left was completely vacant, but there were more trees in front of each of those vacant sections. So the entire expanse of the bowl was filled everywhere in front of M1 and N1, but just the 2 center most sections for where we were at.
Prior to the show I was coming from having spent the day with some of my San Diego friends at Disneyland, or more specifically, Disney’s California Adventure park within the Disneyland Resort. I had intended to leave the park earlier, but Rod had some earlier plans that weren’t finishing until a bit later so I decided to stay at the park a bit longer before heading the rest of the way up into Los Angeles to get to Silver Lake, where Rod lives. Fortunately, Silver Lake is close to the Hollywood Bowl, and we managed to find some street parking a short walk away from the Bowl.
On the way into the bowl, I had to stop at Will Call to pick up the tickets and then we proceeded into the courtyard area. I decided I wanted to get one of the programs and we went to one of the merchandise stands and it seemed the people working it were not the best at handling the crowd at all, service was slow and just terrible all around. But I patiently waited and eventually I had gotten my program. I could have gotten one much sooner if I had cash, but I didn’t and the benefit of getting one at the merchandise stand was that I would be able to get a bag to stick the program in while enjoying the concert so it wouldn’t be destroyed by fingerprints during the show.
After that ordeal was over, Rod and I decided to get some popcorn to take into the bowl to eat and we stood in line for that. And sure enough next to the popcorn stand was yet another merchandise booth that wasn’t surrounded by tons of people at all, in fact the staff working it were leisurely able to serve everyone there. Shame I didn’t know about that one before hand, I would have certainly gone to that one instead. Would have saved a hell of a lot more time. In any case, we got the popcorn and then headed inside and found our second row seats from the back.
We arrived at our seats just a couple of minutes before the show began, so fortunately we didn’t have to wait too long. There was no opening act. And before long the screens erected to provide the background of the stage were lit and Kylie was dropping down to the stage from a huge crystal skull wearing what looked like an outer space themed outfit, complete with hat that seemed to have it’s own set of planets to surround Kylie’s head all to the tune of “Light Years” The lyrics were very appropriate as part of the song allows her to introduce herself to the audience, point out the exits are located to the front and the rear of the craft, and that she would be guide for the evening.
From where Rod and I were sitting Kylie looked about as big as an ant, fortunately there were video screens to the sides of the stage where the action on stage was being projected for our benefit way out in the sticks. While I imagine the Hollywood Bowl is a brilliant venue for the Philharmonic orchestra that plays there as type of performance that you “listen” to and not necessarily have to “see.” Unfortunately the seating is pretty terrible for shows meant to be seen. And according to Rod, they didn’t always have the video screens to the side, so I was grateful the screens were there to at least make it seem like I was watching a concert rather than a colorful ant farm.
When Kylie finally had a moment to speak to the audience, initially all she could really do was scream. The excitement about being on stage on such a globally known venue definitely was getting to her and the audience was equally thrilled to finally have a chance to see Kylie perform a full concert on American turf. As soon as she was able to say something, she said she was at a loss for words and screamed some more. It was fantastic, you could definitely tell she was just really excited to be there.
As Kylie made her way through an amazing set list of songs, I was struck with how really unfamiliar I was with the songs she drew from her most recent album, “X” as it had come out around the time I had gotten my iPod Touch which has limited capacity compared to my iPod Classic which has considerably more room. Even though I had gotten Kylie’s “X” album when it came out, and then again when the US released it for its exclusive track, the album went on the iPod, the songs got rated and all the songs that didn’t get a 5 star rating came off the iPod Touch, so I never really got to know the album very well. Unlike previous albums. So with the newer material it was taking me considerably longer to recognize the songs than it was for songs from all the prior albums.
And true to form, at least from all the Kylie concert DVDs I own, she’s always including something new to present to her audience for the first time to help them get excited about the next album, and in this case, that song was one called “Better Than Today” I quite enjoyed the song and am looking forward to seeing it on her next album. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long for it to be released and maybe this time the US record label will get on the ball and release it at the same time as the rest of the world so I don’t have to import it.
I really liked how Kylie changed up the arrangements on a number of songs so that they were a little different from how they’ve been presented in the past. Some more energetic songs were presented a bit more ballad like such as a fun reinvention of “The Locomotion” and some that were a little slower were given a new sense of vibrancy with a picked up pace such as “Better The Devil You Know” in the encore. And a favorite I was glad to see was the hybrid “Burning Up/Vogue” that Kylie first introduced on her Showgirl tour. That was a definite favorite for me from that live album and one I played quite a few times on my way home from Los Angeles.
The show was definitely stunning visually, the use of the video walls behind Kylie really helped keep the show interesting for those of us who couldn’t quite tell who was who without the aid of the side video screens. I was really pleased we got to be treated to a full on Kylie Minogue show and not a watered down version for the US simply because she wasn’t doing as many dates as she would elsewhere in the world. And I am really glad I saw the show at the Hollywood Bowl, because I think we were treated to an aspect of the show that no other venue on the tour was going to get, and that was the colorful light show going on inside of the bowl behind her video screens. Taking full advantage of the ridges within the interior of the stage shell, it fully complimented the on stage video screens and the natural amphitheatre just made the laser light effects seem all that more spectacular than if it had been an indoor venue.
All in all, it was a spectacular concert, and I am thrilled I can finally say I’ve seen Kylie Minogue in concert. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen without a trip to Europe or Australia. And here I got to enjoy her at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. To leave you with a taste of the show, I found someone had posted a YouTube video recorded from the audience of the Hollywood Bowl, and the featured song is “Better Than Today” the new song that will likely be appearing on Kylie’s next album. Plus it starts with a little bit of Kylie talking to the audience and sharing her excitement. She is definitely a world class entertainer and I hope she brings another tour to the US again. Enjoy the clip.