|Kylie Minogue - Kylie Fever 2002 (Live in Manchester)|
|Written by Dan Macintosh|
|Tuesday, 19 November 2002|
Anybody who still needs evidence that dance music should be heard and not seen ought to spend a little low quality viewing time with this new Kylie Minogue concert DVD, because sounds that are smokin’ hot on the dance floor can cool down considerably when extracted from their nightlife comfort zone. This is why the experience of watching Minogue sleepwalk through her hits on “Fever – 2002 In Concert Live In Manchester” will likely leave most viewers with the cold shivers.
Minogue’s production staff has done a fine job in surrounding this contemporary diva with plenty of flashy set pieces to gawk at, but the singer deserves full blame for the undeniable overall lameness of the final product here. The artist’s icy demeanor and bland stage presence factor into her ultimate failure to please as a live performer. It’s as if somebody had animated Barbie, painted a phony smile on her face and pumped the volume up past 11. Whether she’s in a skimpy midriff-baring silver sparkle outfit, a long black gown or even some slinky bedroom lingerie, Minogue never exhibits any more natural charm than, say, a Stepford Wife. For somebody who has spent so much of her career entrenched in the dance charts, it’s shocking to see how she can’t do much more than just move her arms up and down robotically to the beat of the music.
The concert portion of this DVD opens with the view of an empty stage, as a few brief bars of “The Sound Of Music” play. But sadly, Julie Andrews was not in Manchester, England this night to make a cameo appearance. Instead, something that looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in “The Terminator” rises from beneath the stage. This metallic uniform is opened up to reveal an equally metallic-mannered Minogue. Even though she offers viewers an invitation to step into her house with the opener, “Come Into My World,” brave takers better also be equipped with a warm jacket, because her particular realm is anything but a cozy one.
Minogue seemingly wants viewers to believe that her little world is also a kinky one, because just before she breaks into the song “Fever,” three prop beds are rolled out onto the stage. Dancers, dressed in what looks to be blow-up dolly costumes, mattress-dance in these beds -- which flank each side of her -- while Minogue is illin’ in the middle one dressed in a white shawl. In contrast, “Spinning Around,” which is introduced inexplicably by video images of Beethoven and the playing of his “Ode To Joy,” finds Minogue and her dancers dressed in outfits that combine Liza Minelli’s attire in “Cabaret” with a look derived from the Malcolm McDowell character in “A Clockwork Orange.” This may appear kinky (in a fetishist sort of way) on the surface, but it’s anything but sexy. Later in the show, an audience member holds up a sign that reads, “Wiggle it for Daniel and Nick,” and without hesitation, Minogue rewards these loyal fans with a little ass-shaking action. Speaking of ass-shaking, the cameras spend more than a reasonable amount of time during this show focusing on Minogue’s male dancers, especially during her version of “Locomotion.”
For the most part, the visual look of this DVD matches the music being played. For example, when Minogue sings the trippy “Light Years/I Feel Love,” swirling psychedelic colors act as her backdrop, and when she raises the temperature with “Burning Up,” groupings of orange-red lights appear like flaming torches as the arena is bathed in a red glow. Unlike, say, Cher or Diana Ross, Minogue doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time changing outfits. Instead, she relies upon a few basic looks, such as an evening gown for ballads, and jeans and simple red top for other, more upbeat material toward the show’s end.
The less said about her musical selections here, the better. The track listing on the box calls one portion the Ballad section, even though it adds up to little more than a snippet of “The Crying Game” and a few others. How mixing in a few lines from “The Rhythm Of The Night” into Minogue’s song “Limbo” makes it count as a Latin section, is anybody’s guess. Along the way, there is a touch of R&B with “Kids,” a tip of the hat to old-school rap with “Cowboy Style” and sing-along dance with “Better The Devil You Know.”
“Feel The Fever,” which is the supplementary documentary included on this disc, doesn’t add anything to Minogue’s severely low lovability level. It’s mainly the visual equivalent of a People Magazine puff piece, which merely gushes over how the artist achieved worldwide success right around the time the concert crew was rehearsing for this taping. Sadly enough, one extra section – called Projections – is almost more entertaining than the concert itself. Comprised of the many video screen projections that accompany the performer during her show, these video snippets hold the viewer’s attention all by themselves. The fact that one wishes for more of the appetizers, and less of the main course, cannot ever be a good thing. For example, one of these vid-bits features a colorfully animated break-dancer doing his thing to a Minogue hit, and it just screams, “More cartoons!”
It’s impossible to transplant a nightclub experience into your living room, and similarly, a Kylie Minogue concert does not translate into enjoyable home viewing. Clubbing is an activity, not a spectator sport, and only Minogue-obsessed viewers will gain anything lasting out of sitting through this dreary performance. “Fever” tries to be a throwback to an era when divas like Liza Minelli and Shirley MacLaine could do it all: sing, dance and just plain entertain. But while Minogue is always easy on the eyes, she’s not always so welcome to the ears, and her concert doesn’t add up to a worthwhile entertainment choice. The wise consumer is advised to purchase a Minogue CD and a wall-sized poster, instead of laying down big bucks for this DVD. It’s simply impossible to catch a fever from this Ice Queen.