22 March 2012
B-sides are lucky. There’s more room to play, the stakes are lower and they usually end up as the real fan favourites. Madonna’s iconic Into The Groove, a B-side of her 1985 single Angel, never officially charted in the US. Ringo Starr’s allegedly favourite song to drum to, Rain, made for the B-side on The Beatles’ Paperback Writer. Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive sat on the B-side of a forgotten tune ironically called Substitute. Maggie May by Rod Stewart was destined to be forgotten until a DJ flipped his unremarkable Reason To Believe single. The grass, it seems, is often greener on the B-side.
But not every artist has the opportunity to play an entire set of B-sides. Then again, not every artist has a 25 year back catalogue. Pop diva Kylie Minogue’s been in this game a long time, with plenty of tunes going by the wayside to make room for the big singles (and she’s got over 50 of those). So on Tuesday night, Ms Minogue took Sydney by the hand for a spot of crate digging. Enter the AntiTour.
Hardcore fans and curious parties alike flocked to Luna Park’s super-sized Big Top on Tuesday night for the Sydney leg of the so-called AntiTour, a string of intimate performances featuring B-sides, demos and rarities performed onstage. And this 17-time ARIA Award-winning pop starlet has a big ol' back catalogue. In 2012, Ms Minogue has been celebrating 25 years in the music industry, a yearlong celebration she has dubbed “K25”.
The sold out Anti-Tour proved a stripped down antithesis to the spectacular, glitzy Kylie fanfare seen in her recent Sydney Mardi Gras appearance and in tours such as Aphrodite – Les Folies, X and the infamous Showgirl tour. Kylie ditched the diamante-encrusted bodysuits and feathery headdresses for the semi-basics: hot pink nails, silver hoops, fishnets, white vintage tee, Guiseppe Zanotti heeled boots, D &G denim shorts, pockets peeking out the bottom akin to Every Festival Girl This Side Of Parklife. A notorious serial costume changer with an average of eight changes a show, the crowd found their only fashion change for the encore, when Kylie traded in for shorter shorts and a white tee sporting photographic breasts. Until the lasers did their thing, the only glitz onstage came from Kylie’s sparkly microphone.
::LIVE PHOTOS FROM THE NIGHT
As expected in a B-sides revisit, Kylie spent much of the show in a state of nostalgia, meeting each tune like an old friend. Taking cues from lyrics and a setlist sitting on music stand, the former Neighbours star chuckled her way through forgotten words and old memories. Early in the set, Kylie successfully achieved an ambitious heeled high kick, triumphantly chuckling "I think that's what I used to do".
Moving as smoothly as Mix 106.5 through the '80s, '90s and today, the setlist proved as eclectic as a 25-year long career should, particularly on the B-side of things. Popular cringeworthy doo-doo ballad Paper Dolls, the B-side of #1 single Spinning Around, sat beside a pelvic thrustworthy ride into little-known B-side Cherry Bomb, a tune packaged with her 2008 single Wow only in the UK. Kylie reminded the audience of the hidden gems to be found even in her most recent album Aphrodite, storming through dance-pop track Too Much, co-written and produced with d-floor king Calvin Harris.
Hearts were warmed and hugs instigated crowd-wide during Bittersweet Goodbye, the ballad “written as a farewell song to a very good friend,” Kylie’s former friend and lover, the late Michael Hutchence. Mid-set Kylie delved into the "dark phase" of her life, pausing to thank her fans for their support during her breast cancer battle and jumping into Stars, an electrodance jaunt from her 2007 album X written during her treatment. Yeah, she chucked the lasers on for this one.
There were damp pants crowd-wide as Kylie even delivered a few acapella requests, including a particularly toe-tapping rendition of Word Is Out for one of her tour dancers Zac Brazenas, begrudgingly watching from the audience this time around. Kylie even stopped to warble a rendition of Rainbow Connection for her touring Musical Director Steve Anderson, front and centre in the stands, as Kylie finished up declaring "I didn't do it the way you wanted me to which was as a Muppet."
Stumbling over words she hadn’t sung in years, Kylie was humbled to find herself soon overtaken by fans who knew more lyrics than she. The Impossible Princess didn't even sing the first verse to her never-forgotten 1988 single Got To Be Certain, leaving her microphone behind and letting the front rowers do the work. Kylie cracked jokes a plenty, even stopping to remark upon the rash she was most likely going to end up with thanks to her own towel merchandise, which “probably didn’t even contain one natural fibre.” You’d better believe fans rushed to buy their own Kylie rash at the end of the show.
Revisiting the past is bound to dredge up old memories, so you’re going to want to equip yourself with a band who’s been there. Although the Melburnian songstress was unflanked by her regular storm of energetic dancers, Kylie was joined onstage by elements of her loyal tour band, a modest seven including keyboards, bass, guitar, back up babes and drums. The band seemed as keen to crank the rarities as Minogue, with her peppy keyboardist quietly puffing into the mic, "Oh god, the '80s kill me." The same keyboardist could hardly contain himself during Disco Down, a rare tune which bares an undeniable resemblance to ABBA’s Does Your Mother Know? sporting as much if not more indulgent disco dagginess.
After the quick (and only) costume change, Kylie reappeared for encore. For her dear ol dad, Kylie spun a slow-dance-at-the-prom-worthy rendition of Tears On My Pillow, a Little Anthony cover featured on her 1989 album Enjoy Yourself. The pop diva finished up in true form, obligatory glitter cannons and an uber-shiny rendition of 1989 fan favourite Enjoy Yourself, the title track from her second album.
Dressed up or down, Minogue is first and foremost an entertainer. As long as she keeps performing, the tickets will walk on loyal heels out the door. Two gleeful AntiTour goers were overheard squealing on the way out of Luna Park on Tuesday night, "I didn't know one song but I don't care. Kylie could do an entire set of Justin Bieber covers and I'd be front and centre."
Seems Kylie's so good her B-sides are A+. Yeah, I went there…
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