Picture: Peter Morey

Kylie Minogue’s first-ever South African show was a revelation. If you’re under the illusion that Minogue is a has-been, lightweight pop tart, think again. The girl can sing, perform and hold an audience like a true superstar. And she has two and half decade’s worth of memorable dance hits to draw on.

Minogue’s Aphrodite Live tour is a pared-down version of the Aphrodite – Les Folies tour that she performed in Europe from February to April and in her homeland of Australia in June to promote her 11th studio album, Aphrodite.

The less-costly Aphrodite Live edition, reserved for the US, Asia and South Africa, has a smaller stage and fewer dancers and other stage elements (such as a water fountain) that were part of the European and Australian tour. Despite this, the show remains visually impressive – and has been touted as the largest production put on in the Sun City Superbowl.

The 23-strong cast of dancers, aerial acrobats and musicians made the best of the relatively limited stage real-estate, which was bolstered by a lift moving props on and off-stage and background screens displaying eye-catching graphics and video clips created specifically for the show.

In keeping with the Aphrodite theme, there’s a nod to ancient Greece in the stage’s columns, various costumes and the golden Pegasus. There’s also a lot of Vegas-style feathers and sparkle for good measure. It occasionally bordered on being overly-camp (is there such a thing?), but the costumes and musical sequences ultimately all hung together as a stylish whole.

In the form of her primarily male dancers (“The best in the world,” Minogue exclaimed) the star was flanked by some of the hottest bodies (often wearing very little indeed) that you’re likely to see in one spot for a long time. The ongoing homoerotic imagery on the screens also made it clear that Minogue is no fool – she knows exactly who her biggest and most loyal fan-base is.

Pic: Peter Morey

Then there’s Minogue herself. She sang entirely live, supported by two backup singers. In songs like her cover of the Eurythmics’ There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart), she also revealed that she sings damn well. Yes, she has a ‘pop voice’ but the girl belted out some impressively powerful notes, impressing with her vocals.

Minogue’s commanding, playful and genuinely likeable presence presided over the on-stage antics; holding the chaos together and ensuring that her every moment on stage was thoroughly entertaining and engaging. The 43-year-old looks beautiful and radiates like a true star. And there’s that ever-present huge big-toothed smile that you can’t but help fall in love with.

If like me, you’re a fan of Minogue’s many hits, you’ll be (like me) singing along with her at the top of your voice and jumping and dancing like a demon. The standing area really is the place to-be; it’s akin to a sweaty gay club dance floor, plus you’ll get the most intimate experience possible of the show’s star. It’s best party you likely to have this year.

The songs Minogue performed tended to lean towards the latter part of her career, covering albums such as Light Years, Fever, Body Language, X, and of course, Aphrodite. But you’ll still get to hear an occasional early classic, like the brilliantly re-vamped version of The Loco-Motion. Other songs are also given a fresh re-working, such as the sensually jazzy adaptation of Slow.

There are many reasons Minogue has been around for 25 years, remaining as vital and relevant as ever. And you’ll find them all on display in the over two-hour duration of this show.

In an interview last year, Minogue commented on her vision for the Aphrodite show, saying: “The vibe that I’ve put out there with [the song] All the Lovers, and that I’m getting back, is ‘feel love, share love’. That’s what I want the show to be.”

And that’s exactly what she’s achieved. The Aphrodite Live concert is a joyful, energetic and memorable love-fest of sight and sound. It’s also possibly the gayest pop show ever put on in South Africa.

Kylie Minogue ends her Aphrodite Live tour in Cape Town, at Grand West, on 13 and 14 July. Tickets are available through Computicket.

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