x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Kylie Minogue gets the F1 party started in Abu Dhabi

The Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue shines at F1 on the first day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

Kylie Minogue plays at the du Arena on Yas Island as part of the F1 weekend entertainment. Antonie Robertson / The National
Kylie Minogue plays at the du Arena on Yas Island as part of the F1 weekend entertainment. Antonie Robertson / The National

Kylie Minogue has arrived to remind us what pop music is really about.

The Aussie pop princess delivered a dynamic show at the du Arena that was full of hits, colour, costumes and optimism – in short, what a pop concert should be.

It was enough to wash away the bad taste left by Britney Spears's mime-athon last year.

From the opening synth notes of Wow, Minogue – clad in a funky blue one-piece suit – delivered a fast-paced show.

Minogue is known for extravagant stage shows which have included hire-wire acrobats and cutting-edge fashion.

Her stripped-down performance last night – the dancers stayed – was a blessing in disguise, as the focus was solely on the songs and musicianship.

Minogue's eight-person dance troupe were not the only ones working up a sweat, as the crowd couldn’t stand still as Minogue gleefully plowed through a giddy first half including Higher (the dancers came on stage waving a chequered flag), the tightly coiled lounge version of Slow and the Motown-inspired Locomotion.

The more adventurous second half made better use of Minogue’s dancers and backing band.

In the dramatic Confide in Me, the troupe visually translated the song’s fraught romantic tale into one of duelling fencers and in the sprightly Better The Devil You Know they donned faux fur coats and Vegas-like feathers for what was the concert’s most flamboyant moment.

Minogue’s two backing vocalists also shined when taking over Robbie William’s duties in Kids, transforming what was initially a disposable track into a female empowerment anthem.

As well as keeping the energy up, Minogue’s four-piece band moved from delivering faithful renditions (I Should Be So Lucky and Get Out of My Way) to topping up tracks with modern flavours.

The anemic synths on the album version of In My Arms was thankfully replaced by sturdy guitars, granting the track an extra danceable groove.

On a Night Like This received a trance-ish make-over – the beat dropping on the chorus was welcomed by the crowd like a sought-after sugar rush.

Minogue completed the dazzling affair with the swirling Love At First Sight.

Earlier in the performance she stated: “We wanted to be in pole position.”

Judging by the audience reaction and smiles exiting the venue, it was mission accomplished.

Meanwhile at the Beach

Minogue’s show was not the only stellar performance of the evening.

The final night of Beats on The Beach delivered its own thrills courtesy of the soul star Cee Lo Green and the rapper Missy Elliott.

Green confirmed his reputation for arresting fashion-wear, hitting the Corniche stage in leopard-print robes.

Beginning with It’s All Right, the Atlanta singer kept the mood upbeat with I Like It and I Want You.

Green reminded us of his songwriting pedigree by taking on Don’t Cha, the hit track written for the Pussy Cat Dolls, and the sultry Grammy Award-winning I’m A Fool.

He concluded his set with Forget You, happily playing the role of the conductor with the crowd completing the coup de grace chorus.

With Missy Elliott not performing on Thursday night at du Forum's SkyBar late-night parties as scheduled, Friday's Beats on The Beach was her only Abu Dhabi performance.

Elliot was fortunately up for it.

As well as her jittery hits Get Ur Freak On and One Minute Man, Elliot premiered new tracks, Triple Threat and Knife In It, from her forthcoming new album. The new tunes prove her ear for mind-bending beats has yet to fail her.

ssaeed@thenational.ae