Connect with us

Music & Concerts

Kylie shines in two-hour extravaganza

Saturday concert was rare chance to see Aussie legend in D.C. area



Kylie Minogue (photo courtesy of EMI)

Just like the Greek goddess she embodies in her show, Kylie Minogue served love, beauty and sexuality to her fans at the Patriot Center Saturday in her “Aphrodite Live Tour.”

Even though she has been a successful international superstar since the late ’80s, this is only the second time the 42-year-old Aussie native has ever toured the U.S. — the first time being only a handful of dates in cities like New York and Los Angeles in 2009.  So, this was a rare opportunity for Kylie lovers here in the States to catch a glimpse of her live. Only achieving success here in 2001 with her dance album “Fever,”  she has always hovered on the outskirts of the American mainstream and her fans have predominately been gay men. And she certainly knows what her fans would want from her in a live show. In this case: ancient Greece meets discotheque.

Starting things off with the title track of her current album “Aphrodite,” she rose from below the stage on a gold shell and dressed in full-on Greek garb looking youthful and gorgeous. Fog machines set the scene while the stage was adorned with elaborate columns and staircases. A gaggle of attractive, well-built male dancers decorated the stage for virtually the entire show. Female dancers, two backup singers, acrobats and a full band were also part of her on-stage posse.

It was quite a theatrical spectacle and on par with the grand-scale productions of Madonna, Cher and Bette Midler. It felt more suited for a stint in glitzy Las Vegas rather than a space limiting venue on a college campus. In fact, the U.S. leg of her tour had to be cut down from the extravagant European shows due to space and traveling concerns. In those shows she had much larger stages to fit props and house lavish running waterfalls. She even had a “splash zone” where a certain section of the venue’s crowd would get wet. Still, even a few elements missing did not detract from the final result.

Whether she was appearing on stage riding a carousel horse for “Illusion” or a chariot for “I Believe in You,” she seemed to be topping herself with each performance. A rock rendition of her biggest dancefloor  hit “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” was unexpected and may have been the highlight of the evening.

She channeled Breathless Mahoney for a vampy lounge version of her club hit “Slow” and when it came to performing material off of her new album, she made some welcomed alterations as well. One that stood out was a mash-up of 2002’s “Love at First Sight” mixed with the ‘Aphrodite’ track “Can’t Beat This Feeling.” After embracing suspended white winged dancers in “Looking for an Angel” she went right into an amazing cover of The Eurythmics’ ‘80s hit “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with my Heart).” Don’t be surprised if she releases that as a single in the future.

Minogue showed off her top-notch vocals and gave hardcore fans a treat with the stripped down ballad “If You Don’t Love Me” from her 1994 self-titled album. Fans hoping to hear her ’80s hits “I Should Be So Lucky” and “The Loco-Motion” were left disappointed. The oldest hits she performed were the mostly  unknown “Better the Devil You Know” and “What Do I have to Do” from her 1990 album “Rhythm of Love.” Switching out the two lesser known tracks for the more familiar favorites would have been a wiser choice. The show-stopping finale was her current hit “All the Lovers” — an appropriate way to end such a high energy and unified show.

Throughout the tight 24-track, two-hour extravaganza, she made several eye-popping costume changes. From Greek goddess to fashionista, she gave any drag queen in the audience inspiration for days. Not overly avant-garde like Lady Gaga and more feminine than Madonna, her outfits were sexy but never raunchy. The only outfit dud was when she came out wearing what looked like the skinned hide of Fozzie Bear from the Muppets.

On the dancing aspect of the show, she pretty much left that up to her dancers. She did less dancing and more parading while she sang. Think Cher. But, to be fair, Kylie never was an artist that incorporated much choreography into her productions.

Her ability to connect with her fans is one of her greatest attributes as an entertainer. At several points throughout the show she graciously acknowledged her love for her fans and on the receiving end it felt genuine. Never cold or unattainable like some of her diva contemporaries, she was playful at times, even accepting a rose from a fan in the front row and sharing the story of her White House visit earlier in the day. Like her music she is sugary sweet, joyfully infectious and never disappointing.

Set list:

1. Aphrodite
2. The One
3. Wow
4. Illusion
5. I Believe In You
6. Cupid Boy
7. Spinning Around
8. Get Outta My Way
9. What Do I Have to Do?
10. Everything is Beautiful
11. Slow
12. Confide in Me
13. Can’t Get You Out of My Head
14. In My Arms
15.  Looking For An Angel
16. There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)
17. Love at First Sight/Can’t Beat This Feeling (mash up)
18. If You Don’t Love Me
19. Better The Devil You Know
20. Come Into My World (piano accompanied)
21.  Better Than Today (aucostic, bluesy into that goes full force into a dance beat)
22. Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)
23. On A Night Like This
24. All The Lovers


Music & Concerts

The Atlantis to showcase musical legends of tomorrow

New venue, a near replica of original 9:30 Club, opens next month



A look at the interior of the original 9:30 club. (Photo public domain/Library of Congress)

A new nirvana for music fans opens next month adjacent to the 9:30 Club. Dubbed The Atlantis, this intimate venue embraces a 450-person capacity – and pays homage as a near-replica of the original 9:30 Club.

The $10 million venue comes courtesy of I.M.P., the independent promoter that owns and operates the 9:30 Club and The Anthem, and operates The Lincoln Theatre and Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The Foo Fighters will inaugurate The Atlantis on May 30, which is also the 9:30 Club’s anniversary. Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl, during a concert in 2021, kicked off speculation that I.M.P was planning to open a new venue, noting that, “We’ll probably be the band that opens that place, too, right?”

Other big names on the inaugural 44-show run roster: Franz Ferdinand, Barenaked Ladies, Third Eye Blind, Spoon, and Billy Idol.

To thwart scalpers, The Atlantis utilized a request system for the first 44 shows when they went on sale two weeks ago. Within four days of the announcement, fans had requested more than 520,000 tickets, many times more than the total 19,800 available. All tickets have been allocated; fans who were unable to snag tickets can attempt to do so in May, when a fan-to-fan ticket exchange opens.

While I.M.P. oversees multiple larger venues, “We’ve been doing our smallest shows in other peoples’ venues for too many years now,” said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P. “We needed a place that’s ours. This can be the most exciting step in an artist’s career.”

The 9:30 Club holds 1,200 people, while The Anthem has space for up to 6,000.

“This will be where we help introduce new artists to the world… our smallest venue will be treated as important, if not more, than our bigger venues. If the stories are told right, both the artists and the fans begin their hopefully longterm relationship. Its stage will support bourgeoning artists and the legends of tomorrow,” Hurwitz said. Hurwitz and the team developed a tagline for the new venue: The Atlantis, Where Music Begins.

Hurwitz got his start at the original 9:30 Club, originally located at 930 F St., N.W. He was an independent booker of the club for the first six years and then he bought it, and managed the move from its original location to its current location in 1996. The venue first opened in 1980.

Audrey Fix Schaefer, I.M.P. communications director, provides further insight. “We were missing small venues in our umbrella. Big acts don’t start in stadiums. We need a place for emerging artists and for the community to discover new acts. The Atlantis can help new artists grow.”

While design elements are still coming into focus, Schaefer says that the space will be intimate, with almost no separation between the artist and the crowd. “There will be energy on both sides of the stage,” she says.

Although The Atlantis is set to be a replica of the original 9:30, I.M.P. has spared no expense. Schaefer notes that the sound and light systems use the latest available technologies, similar to next door at the current 9:30 Club.

The Atlantis takes over the footprint of now-closed Satellite Room. The venue will have at least two bars flanking the stage; cocktails but no food will be available.

Schaefer notes that since its early days, 9:30 Club and I.M.P. “has always been a place where people are welcome. People come and feel safe with us.” 9:30 Club has hosted several LGBTQ Pride parties, the BENT dance party series, and other events for LGBTQ patrons. Particular acts of note during the kickoff run include Tegan & Sarah and Tove Lo.

The Washington Blade was a neighbor to the 9:30 Club at its original F Street location back in the 1980s. Despite their proximity, noise wasn’t an issue for on deadline nights, when Blade staff worked late hours.

“We would of course work later hours back then,” said Phil Rockstroh, a longtime Blade staffer, in a 2016 Blade interview. “Everything was typeset and done by hand without computers and fax machines so getting through deadlines was much more time consuming.”

Rockstroh said the noise wasn’t a distraction.

“It wasn’t too bad as older buildings were constructed more solidly,” Rockstroh said. “There was only one entrance to the building and you entered so far to the elevator that went up to the other floors and then continued down the hall to the entrance to the 9:30 Club. Frequently at night if I was coming or going, there were people spilling out the doors.”

“The Blade has always had a friendly relationship with the 9:30 Club,” he added.

Continue Reading

Music & Concerts

National Philharmonic to perform classical, contemporary works

Violinist Melissa White returns



The National Philharmonic will host “Beethoven’s 7th” on Saturday, April 15 at 8 p.m. at Strathmore.

Past and present will collide in this performance of contemporary works and classical masterpieces. Maestro Piotr Gajewski will direct Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja, Anthem for Unity for Orchestra” Violinist Melissa White will also return to the Philharmonic to perform Florence Price’s sweeping, melodic “Violin Concerto No. 2.”

Tickets start at $19 and can be purchased on the Philharmonic’s website.

Continue Reading

Music & Concerts

Bruce & Janet & John Legend, oh my!

Slew of iconic acts hitting the road after pandemic cancellations



Janet Jackson is among the iconic acts touring this spring.

Pop and rock icons are releasing their pent-up pandemic frustrations by mounting huge tours this spring and summer. After three years of canceled and postponed shows, everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Janet Jackson is hitting the road at long last. But save your coins because the TicketMaster algorithms are driving ticket prices to astronomical highs. Here are a few highlights from D.C.-area venues this spring. Although some of the iconic acts aren’t coming until summer — Beyonce, Madonna, Pink — several others are hitting the road this spring.

Betty Who plays March 10; Keyshia Cole headlines the All Black Extravaganza 20 Year Anniversary tour on March 18; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs come to town on May 3; Seal brings his world tour to town on May 10; and the beloved Pixies are back on the road with a new North American tour stopping here on June 10.

9:30 CLUB
Don’t miss Gimme Gimme Disco, an Abba dance party on March 18; Inzo arrives on March 31, followed by Bent on April 1; Ruston Kelly brings his The Weakness tour on April 17 along with Purr; The New Pornographers show on May 19 is sold out but there are tickets available for the May 20 show; The Walkmen have added a fourth show on May 23 because the other three shows are sold our;

Living legend Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are back with a vengeance, playing one of four area shows on March 27. (They’re in Baltimore the night before.) If you missed out this time, don’t worry, Bruce is playing Nats Park in September as well as at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. April 1 brings the R&B Music Experience, including Xscape, Monica, Tamar Braxton, and 112. Blink-182 comes to town on May 23. And this summer watch for Sam Smith to continue his hot streak, bringing his “Gloria” tour to town on Aug.4.

Janet Jackson makes her highly anticipated return to the stage this spring, arriving in our area on May 6 along with guest Ludacris. The LGBTQ ally and icon has promised new music on her upcoming “Together Again Tour,” which follows the pandemic-related cancellation of her “Black Diamond Tour.” Jackson also plays Baltimore’s newly renovated CFG Bank Arena on May 13.

John Legend plays two nights at Wolf Trap on June 2 and 3; Charlie Puth follows on June 4. Wolf Trap also hosts the Indigo Girls on June 7 just in time for Pride month. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Smithereens at the Birchmere on March 17. Fans of ‘80s alternative will be lined up for the Church also at the Birchmere at April 4, followed by Suzanne Vega on April 26. Amy Grant returns to the stage this spring and plays the Birchmere on May 2. Echostage plays host to a slew of buzz worthy shows this spring, including Ella Mai on April 8 and Fisher on May 12.

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade