Live: Kylie Minogue at BankAtlantic Center, May 7

Aphrodite Tour 2011 Starring Kylie Minogue
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Saturday, May 7, 2011

Better than: Watching Lady Gaga's "Monster Ball" on TV

If there's a god, let's hope he's taking notes from Kylie Minogue. After her concert Saturday, I believe in her, and it's about time the rest of America does too. The reportedly $20 million spectacle that this Australian pop star was brought to South Florida this past weekend -- $55 for nosebleed seats -- AKA the world's reigning pop diva's Aphrodite tour, was simply heavenly.

"You know that I'm magical, I am the original, I am the only one to make you feel this way," she sang from the title track of her latest album, Aphrodite. Beginning the night emerging from a giant golden clamshell -- see Botticelli's Birth of Venus -- Minogue descended a staircase in a golden armor bustier and flowy white skirt, stepping through rich blue lighting and smoke that blanketed the BankAtlantic stage. Hunky dancers dressed in skimpy togas strutted across the stage during the highly choreographed introduction, and synchronized acrobats spun on high wires. Images from giant screens behind the, ahem, giant Greek temple, enchanted audiences, oscillating between mesmerizing pictures of Minogue's face and aquatic imagery, which included chiseled men swimming in water or being splashed by it.

"Aphrodite" really set the tone for the evening, recognizing Minogue as the reigning pop diva that she is, someone unbelievably popular everywhere but the United States. She gained some stateside exposure during the late '80s with her cover of "Locomotion" and over a decade later with pop hits like "Can't Get You Out of My Head" and "Love at First Sight" but never became the "golden girl" here that she is overseas. Yet at 42, Minogue's stage presence communicates the ease of someone who has it all: beauty, grace, and a magnetism that, despite all the naughty kitsch around her, maintains a refined charm. If she could sing with a ball gag, it would probably be most adorable and endearing.

The majority of the two-hour show proceeded in an over-the-top fashion similar to the introduction: a vision of Vegas-style Hellenism that made sure Cirque de Soleil dropped by the bondage shop before the dance party. For instance, during the hypnotic, Grammy-winning synthpop single "I Believe in You," Minogue rode in a chariot drawn by buff brutes who were reined in by something resembling bridles and who were wearing only tight black briefs. Epic Dolce & Gabbana wardrobe changes ensued. During "Looking for an Angel," an angel was lowered on to the stage. The dance-pop gem "All the Lovers" closed the night and featured the acrobats pairing for some scary/fancy aerodynamics.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: The last time I went to BankAtlantic was last month for Iron Maiden. The show was awesome, but Kylie was a nice counterbalance. Same amount of men, more glitter.

Overheard: "I love your shoes!" from an audience member to Minogue, concerning her supersparkly, gold baby-doll shoes.

The crowd: Gay men, golden boys, toga-wearing beefcakes.

By the way: Despite the arena-sized venue, the show still felt really intimate. I was actually pretty jealous of the guys in the outer seats. They had much more room to dance.

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