For the second year running, Kylie Minogue took over the Royal Albert Hall for a seasonal extravaganza. She did not stint on the stuffing. There was a neon Christmas tree, flurries of fake snow, a cascade of balloons, giant glitterballs and santa hat on every seat to turn the august venue into a winter wonderland. The stage was crowded with around 100 musicians, including a full orchestra, choir and Minogue’s usual pop band.
She did not hold back on the cheesecake either. There were leggy girls dressed in not much more than tinsel and dancing pandas whose furry costumes slid off to reveal muscular male torsos. Minogue arrived on stage in a red cape and ribbons quickly discarded to reveal a sparkly mini dress. “I thought it was casual,” she pouted. “This is just a little something I threw on.”
During the course of the evening, she also just threw on an imperial Snow Queen ball gown, a dazzling rainbow mini dress, a slinky gold slip and plunging black glitter suit. “I’m not out of breath from singing and dancing,” she confided. “It’s getting in and out of these costumes back stage.”
“Any Bah Humbugs in the audience tonight?” she coquettishly enquired. But of course, there were not. Minogue’s fans knew exactly what they were letting themselves in for. It was a night of Christmas pop, tinselled up versions of her own biggest hits and celebratory romps through dance classics including Night Fever by the Bee Gees and Kool & The Gang’s Celebration.
Light opera singer Katherine Jenkins and young pop star Olly Alexander from Years and Years joined in festivities, neither of whom could stop smiling, as if incredulous at the whole experience. Alternative music giant John Grant added impressive gravitas to a commanding baritone duet of Minogue’s Nineties trip hop groove Confide In Me.
It was staged as if simultaneously honouring and parodying light entertainment clichés of Christmas cheer with a gay disco slant. Minogue’s secret weapon is the warmth she projects, the inclusiveness in her smile, the sense that she really loves her audience and is having every bit as much fun as they are.
If the job of a performer is to release an audience from themselves, unshackle inhibition and unite them in a communal emotional experience, Kylie Minogue achieved it memorably. The sight of thousands of grown men and women in Santa hats, on their feet dancing and singing exuberantly along to Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday is one that I won’t get out of my head for a long time.
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
(Paul McCartney cover)
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
(The Waitresses cover)
Come into My World
Confide in Me
(with John Grant)
Better the Devil You Know
(with Olly Alexander)
Stay Another Day
Your Disco Needs You
(with Katherine Jenkins)
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Can’t Get You Out of My Head
Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)
(Bee Gees cover)
Love at First Sight
All the Lovers
Especially for You
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
“WOW! Thank you SO much to the entire #KylieChristmas team, the band, the dancers, the choir, the orchestra, and of course all of YOU!! ” -Kylie