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Kylie, iTunes Festival, Roundhouse | reviews, news & interviews

Kylie, iTunes Festival, Roundhouse

Kylie, iTunes Festival, Roundhouse

The voice is thin, the music naff and terrible - but do give us the glitter and sparkle

Kylie’s dreariness can take you by surpriseiTunes Festival, London 2014

Does Kylie exist without spectacle? Take away the 6ft headgear, the sparkly hotpants, the spangly corsets, the team of super-fit dancers dressed like futuristic liquorice allsorts, and what’s left? If you find whatever it is, please let me know. 

But if it’s spectacle you’re into – and who doesn’t enjoy a bit of sparkle and shimmer now and again? – there’s fun to be had at a Kylie gig, even as you’re aware that all you’re admiring is the pristine production and the manufactured aura of the Kylie brand. "Wooo", the audience go at a spectacular but brief light show between two indistinguishable tracks. And in the hour I spent among the diehard Kylie brigade – though not so diehard from what I could gather of those nearby looking bored and disengaged – that five-second light show was practically all the spectacle I got to see. Other than the video backdrop – which wasn’t a projection of what was happening on stage – it was mainly the backs of people’s heads I got to admire. If you weren’t allocated a seat upstairs you’d have been lucky – yeah, yeah, lucky, lucky, lucky – to catch a glimpse of the tip of one of Kylie’s feathery headdresses.

It soon became very clear that the Roundhouse gig was organised chiefly for the benefit of a live broadcast, and the audience were simply there to provide atmosphere. A pity, then, that there was so little of that last night. Kylie was playing an “intimate” venue in preparation for her appearances at the soulless O2 Arena next week, and, sad to say, this was probably the most boring gig I’ve been to since Badly Drawn Boy sometime in the early Noughties. Is Kylie to music what the chain-smoking, woolly-hatted, indie singer-songwriter was to spectacle? – though in BDB’s case, the music was stultifyingly dreary too. 

Kylie’s dreariness took me by surprise. I expected to go home skipping. But if there’s no spectacle – if you can’t see the stage for the sea of heads – then what’s her point as a live performer? Not even the most devoted fan could say she’s got much of a voice. And as for the music – what is it but a backdrop for all those cheeky costumes and choreographed moves? The Hi-NRG mulch of much of her recording career isn’t improved with a live set, and there was only one highlight while I was there – naturally, everyone perked up when she started singing “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”. But when it was over they seemed instantly to droop again, at least during the music, though she did interact charmingly with the audience and got a good response. 

There’s nothing else to add. For me, it was tedium writ large. I slipped out an hour early, and on the tube home I spotted fellow early escapees still sporting their Kylie ticket wristbands.

Fisun Guner on Twitter

If there’s no spectacle – if you can’t see the stage for the sea of heads – then what’s her point as a live performer?


Editor Rating: 
Average: 1 (1 vote)

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What a vile review - 1 star? Shame on you! Admittedly I only the show via the iTunes stream, but from where I was sitting it was incredible. Most pop stars don't sing live - your critique of Kylie's voice is very unfair. Kylie is an incredible performer with a back catalogue of classic hits. If this isn't your genre, so be it, but if you claim to be a journalist, you should be writing objectively.

"Most pop stars don't sing live - your critique of Kylie's voice is very unfair". Maybe I'm naive, but that amazes me. What would you go to a live show for if not to HEAR the performer live? Sometimes when the wrappings fall, there's nothing underneath at all.

Yes David - I'd agree that you are quite naive and probably don't understand the pop genre at all. Kylie has been a cultural icon for three decades and she has a huge legion of loyal fans. Her pared down club gigs are as incredible as her arena tours. For sure there are better vocalists out there, but Kylie is a great singer with style, charisma and stage presence. Do yourself a favour and go see her on tour.

Very narrow minded review. Obviously not original and not representative of the artist at this stage in their career. Every point has been made a million times during her long reigning career, so boring, repetitive, unoriginal and lazy is how I would describe your review. I suggest you bring some tins of beans next time you go to a show so you can see better or trying moving a little further to the front. In any case it is not Kylie's fault you couldnt see, in fact I am sure she sympathises! Furthermore, she was live and I am glad you can mostly describe any lacking in the performance to you own inadequacies of comprehension regarding it.

lord. the single most biased review I have ever read

So you left an hour early... meaning you just saw 30 minutes of the show, but still can comment on Can't get you out of my head was a highlight which started much later. You probably left a few minutes before the end and wanna dramatize things. You think the music is naff and terrible but expected to go home skipping? You didn't know Kylie and her music before going? Great Journalism!

To clarify, I stayed for an hour, and was told beforehand that the performance would last two. And yes, Rikh, Can't Get You Out of My Head was indeed a highlight. I'm sure it must have been a very different experience seeing it livestreamed.

First this isn't even a review.You sond like a basic twitter hater without the limit of 140 characters.Second,LMAO.What do you expect from a gig though? You were in a pop show lady,not an art museum.Kylie's voice is much better than other pop stars (bar Beyonce,Mariah,Christina etc.) and she always sings live.BESIDES,if you really want to know what is left when take away the spectacle you can simple google her intimate (2012) club shows for her die-hard fans ''The Anti-Tour''.No stage production,just her singing fan favourites.Who else could dare to do anything like that? Stick to your day job honey.

What/ who is the ArtDesk I ask? Ouch! You just totally miss the point! Come back in 26 years with a credible review - lol not holding my breath - you should be so lucky!!

I just think you don't get her at all! Many of her songs are really cool, her voice is her trademark, she is the only really classy pop star around and she's a beautiful woman. What is left when you take all the dancers costumes and video bakcdrop? Kylie's charisma! She's a real popstar!

Do your job as a journalist and stay through the whole damn thing. If you where badly seated that's the venue's fault and you shouldn't be qualified to review the actual show. Also, saying "I don't get it" is Youtube-comment level of journalism. Her voice can get nasal but can be very impressive too. It's not perfect but it's solid and with definite highlights like the Locomotion performance (especially those final notes) and many more (Head, Your Disco Needs You, Beautiful, Into The Blue). The fact that the spectacle aspect in a pop concert is a half-negative is like someone going to a rock concert and complaining the music is too loud. Kylie has done many intimate gigs in the past where she's just on stage with a mic and her band. This wasn't that type of show though. You will probably dismiss all the negativity your review has gotten as nothing but blind fanboy attitude but most people here have given you constructive reasons of why this review cannot be taken seriously.

Does Kylie exist without spectacle? Take away the 6ft headgear, the sparkly hotpants, the spangly corsets, the team of super-fit dancers dressed like futuristic liquorice allsorts, and what’s left? If you find whatever it is, please let me know. What's left ? Ummmm just a seasoned professional performer who consistently and reliably satisfies her enormous fan base with her live performances over the past few decades. What a nasty bitter mean spirited review. Not to mention incomplete. Do restaurant reviewers leave after an entree ? Book reviewers after 2 chapters ? I feel sorry for your sexual partners if you always finish so early ?

Totally agree with the comments on this terrible opinion piece. Posting offensive material like this, disguised as a review, brings the intergrity of this whole publication into question. How can a show wish has garnered acclaim from other media outlets be so savagely attacked by this writer, who didn't bother to stay for the whole show. Interesting to note that the other reviews of Kylie's work on the arts desk,, by clearly more credible journalists, has been quite favourable. I'd suggest that Fisun Guner's opinion pieces be carefully moderated in future. She clearly does not have the range or depth to understand or appreciate art unless it's sitting lifeless in a gallery.

Look, it's a review using critical faculties and a sensibility not a piece of fanboi/gurl hagiography. There's far too much of this recycling of past-it pop stars (Art Garfunkel another egregious recent example) with an uncritical legion of fans lapping up the stale milk. There's plenty of new, vibrant live music in London - don't waste your time with this old rubbish.

Jack - Kylie is touring her NEW album which peaked at Number 2 on the UK charts, 1 in Australia and in the top 10 all through Europe. Critical facualities and sensibility? This bitter woman is complaining about her poor vantage point (anyone with a general admission ticket should know they need to arrive early to get a good position up the front) more than providing a fair and factual review of the show, which she didn't even bother to watch in its entirety. Kylie's show is new, live and vibrant. Your 'past-it pop star' is an iconic star who is widely acclaimed to be an incredible live performer and is still topping the charts around the world after 27 years in the music industry. Pull your head in and show some respect.

I respect Kylie. A few years ago I heard her in Manchester (I was doing a piece about her Showgirl choreographer Rafael Bonachela) and was amazed at how she apparently connected, without the slightest fear or difficulty, with 20,000 people in the MEN arena. Yes, her voice is small, her fashion direction dubious, her songs are naff, but she is a hell of a performer & I won't let words said against her go by without protest.

It interests me, though, that we move from Alice Coote's 'it's all about the voice' statement in the operatic, Taragate furore - I didn't believe that any more than I believed Tara was fat, and I enjoyed seeing the magnificent Jessye Norman on HARDtalk pooh-pooh a beleaguered critic's percentages of 75 per cent voice and 25 per cent acting in riposte - to 'it's not really about the voice at all'. I respect Ismene's opinion, as I haven't seen Kylie live, and I've been very happy to bop to some of her hits, but is it ALL about presentation and peripheral star quality? Should we really be grateful for a pop singer just because she  actually sings live, live?

Hated some of those analogies between 'live' performance and 'dead' art, by the way. Ludicrous.

Whoa - I'm "bitter", you "feel sorry for my sexual partners", my “opinion pieces should be carefully moderated in future" (cos, like, we live in a Kylie police state...) LOL - calm down boys and girls. I wrote a review of the concert (and it can only be my informed experience of it) - not the livestream, nor her reputation as the beloved one, nor her popular appeal or her record sales or her staggering stamina or her dance moves. Yes, I might have struggled, pushed and fought my way with gritted teeth to the front – it was a pretty dense crowd though – but the point was simply this: completely take out the showgirl spectacle and heed not the rabid fanboy adoration, and it can be pretty dull and miserable at a Kylie concert, because, you know, the music, (apart from a couple of brilliantly catchy hits) is – if you people are completely honest – not good. And the whole point of this one was the livestream. Lots of people left early because it wasn’t much fun for them. And if you can’t actually see the performance, and loads of people there couldn’t, that’s exactly it. And now even my colleague Ismene, who wasn’t there, “won't let words said against her go by without protest” – yet concedes her voice is weak and her music naff. Er, yes. Quite.

Oh dear, the writer tells it like it is that this ageing pop dolly really ain't that much and low and behold, the middle aged, limp-wristed gheys get their panties in a twist and start hurling insults at him. LOL - Her fans really are PATHETIC.

You're making a lot of assumptions here, 'The Peach', and your plain rudeness is not adding to the debate. Do you have an obsession with age? Hurling insults? Take a good long hard look at yourself mate, who is pathetic?

Fisun Güner is perfectly entitled to express her opinion of Kylie's show. But vitally, only if she saw it all. Most professional critics agree that if you leave before the end of a play, opera, or other live theatrical event, you forfeit the right to review it. This convention, it seems to me, is both proper and fair. That The Arts Desk should publish a review based on a partial viewing of an event is disappointing. I would have expected higher standards of them.

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