all words: John Marble
all photos: Katherine Gaines
By the time that Kylie Minogue took the stage at the Patriot Center in Fairfax on Saturday night, her crowd was already primed. It was Minogue’s first performance ever in the Washington-area, and fans of the Australian pop star roared her onto stage with a thunderous welcome.
Kylie Minogue may be the biggest sensation you have never heard of…assuming that you are a straight, American male. With more than 60 million albums sold, Minogue is listed as one of the top-selling artists of all time. Yet, despite her global fame, her reach in the United States remains limited mostly to European expats and throngs…throngs…of gay men. Once described by leading Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera as “the perfect gay icon,” Minogue on Saturday was able to strongly play to that base in a way that eschewed camp, and embraced even the most heterosexual members of her audience.
Yet, it was her gay fans that almost exclusively made up Minogue’s audience on Saturday. Although the crowd at the Patriot Center included a raucous section of Australian expats, and a smattering of women, the Patriot Center was aggressively dominated by gay men – many in costumes that paid tribute to Minogue, or simply conveyed one’s personal love of sequined tank-tops, sailor hats, and all-things-glitter. Yes…it was that gay. And it was joyously spectacular.
Minogue being fitted for her “Aphrodite Les Follies” Tour
Minogue opened her show dressed in billowing, white Dolce & Gabbana tunic that emulated the goddess aphrodite. In conjunction with the current “Aphrodite Les Follies” tour, D&G outfitted Minogue’s multiple costume changes during her three-hour performance – broken up into different follies blocks that carried the audience through ancient Greece, Persia, 19th Century Southern Spain and 1980s New York City alleyways.
The artistic direction of Minogue’s show remained true to a follies spectacle. While many of today’s arena performances increasingly feature arial eacrobatics as an over-the-top effect, Minogue’s artistic direction used such features as accents to a solidly-built show. The choreography of Minogue’s nearly twenty dancers was a serious, athletic event. And while most pop stars choose between live singing and choreographed performances (with a lip synced track), Minogue was able to both sing and athletically dance without pause for nearly three hours.
Her performance was appreciated by the crowd, which had been building up their excitement for the concert for some time. A week prior, DJs Shea Van Horn (Mixtape, Raw) and Aaron Riggins (WTF?! and Homo Hotel Happy Hour) kicked off “Kylie Week” by a holding an “All You Can Eat Kylie” party before a packed house at the DC9. Prior to the party, Van Horn tweeted that he had narrowed down his Minogue tracks to “11.5 hours” and was still editing them down for time.
Several other “Kylie” parties followed last week, and in a stroke of organizing genius, Riggins himself organized four sold-out “Kylie Koaches” with the nightclub Town to take 179 gay men (and one woman) to Minogue’s performance in the Washington suburbs. Those buses, along with multiple limousines rented to shuttle people from DC to suburban Fairfax, were representational of the devotion that Minogue inspires in her fans. Yet, in a pop era where anyone can be turned into an auto-tuned princess, Minogue demonstrated on Saturday that she has earned the adoration of her fans.
and, of course: THE FANS