LIVE: Kylie Minogue – Manchester Apollo, 09/03/2001

LIVE: Kylie Minogue – Manchester Apollo, 09/03/2001

I have to thank The Big Issue North – a street magazine sold by homeless and vulnerably housed vendors in the UK with no other means of earning an income – for giving me my first opportunity to catch Kylie Minogue in concert. I’m not sure if anyone else could have ever entered their weekly competitions back then because in a personal purple patch that had previously seen me bag tickets to Glastonbury, Cropredy, and the V Festival (twice, no less) as well as a whole bunch of James Brown CDs, a lovely collection of Rough Guide travel books, and a World Cup ’98 programme signed by the England football captain, Alan Shearer, I then managed to win a pair of highly sought-after tickets to see Kylie in Manchester in March 2001.

It was all incredibly exciting. The occasion was that of Kylie’s fifth ever concert tour and was in support of her seventh studio album, Light Years. Entitled On A Night Like This – the second track on said album – the tour had begun a few nights before on the 3rd of March in Glasgow and this show in Manchester was the fourth date on the itinerary. The location was the city’s Apollo theatre, a former cinema built in an impressive Art Deco style with a capacity of 3,500. In decades of gig going during which I had seen acts as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, The Clash, Ramones, The Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, David Bowie, The Stone Roses, and Prince, I had honestly never before experienced a mood quite like there was in the Apollo that night. The atmosphere was electric, a bit like a completely untethered end-of-term school celebration or the Last Night of the Proms with people in full-on party mode. And this was all before a single note had even been heard.

The curtains at the front of the stage slowly opened to reveal an elaborate recreation of an ocean liner. As the opening chords of ‘Loveboat’ struck up we caught our first sighting of Kylie as she was gently lowered onto the top deck of the seafaring vessel whilst stood on a huge sequinned anchor. What followed was just as equally overblown, just as equally spectacular. Like some flamboyant Busby Berkeley cinematic production, complete with a strong supporting cast of carefully choreographed dancers, we saw extravagant set changes. There was an Art Deco New York City skyline and also a staggering finale spent inside the interior of a space ship whilst Kylie belted out first ‘Light Years’ and then ‘What Do I Have To Do’.  

And we saw Kylie leaving the stage and then reappearing shortly thereafter in a series of dramatic costume changes. For a wonderfully slowed-down reading of ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ she draped herself over a grand piano dressed in white top hat and tails, whilst for a thumping cover of Olivia Newton-John‘s ‘Physical’, Kylie emerged onto the stage, sliding down a pole, wearing a scant gold lamé dress. It was top-end camp glamour, highly decorative, wonderfully expressive, mildly erotic, and all handled with suitably understated sexual innuendo. I tell you, it was nothing short of magnificent.

Main Image courtesy of YouTube

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.