|Australian pop star Kylie Minogue kicked off her first-ever North American tour with a two-night stay at Oakland‚Äôs Fox Theatre.
Notorious Sainted Glamazon About Town
It‚Äôs official. Even in a week filled with the Castro Street Fair and endless drag shows, the gayest thing a man can do short of getting his anus bleached while listening to show tunes is attend a Kylie Minogue concert.
When the irrepressible Australian pop star launched her first-ever North American concert tour with a two-night engagement at Oakland‚Äôs Fox Theatre, the place was teeming with so many homosexuals, East Bay Pride should should be jealous. I‚Äôd hazard to guess the last time so many gays crossed the Bay, Steamworks was offering a 2-for-1 special! Of course, thanks to a twist of fate and generous friends, I found myself smack-dab in the middle of the Kylie craze Thurs., Oct. 1.
Though I have always enjoyed Kylie‚Äôs work ‚ÄĒ namely her 1988 U.S. Top 5 debut ‚ÄúLocomotion,‚ÄĚ which remains an iPod shuffle guilty pleasure, and her Grammy-winning 2001 opus Fever, which I listened to nonstop for the better part of a year ‚ÄĒ I originally had no plans to attend the concert.
Of course, with next-to-everyone I know buying tickets well in advance, that made me the odd man out. So when DJ Christopher B (who spins every Friday happy hour at Lookout) decided to ‚Äúrepay‚ÄĚ me for taking him to the Little Boots concert at The Independent two weeks before with a free ticket to the fagstravaganza that is Kylie, I jumped at the chance! And I couldn‚Äôt be happier that I did.
From the minute I departed for the Glen Park BART station, I knew it was going to be ‚Äúan experience.‚ÄĚ Even in this city, nothing can quite describe the feeling of boarding a crowded train at rush hour in full drag. Thank goodness I met up with Christopher and a couple of his hunky friends at The Embarcadero on the way over, because from the look of some passengers‚Äô faces, it was clear they didn‚Äôt know whether to beat me up or unbuckle their pants (and those conflicted types are always the most dangerous!).
By the time we disembarked in downtown Oakland shortly before 7 pm, the line already snaked nearly a city block in length. In hopes of pressing against the stage at the general admission show, Sandra O. Noshi-Di‚Äôn‚Äôt, Becky Motorlodge and Fruitbomb ‚Äď returning for their second straight (and I use that term oh-so-loosely) night of Kylie ‚Äď arrived hours earlier.
Feet ahead of them was Alex Gil, who for quite some time worked with my friend Allen Beard at Naia. Just that morning he found out the gelato shop on Castro Street was bought by new owners and, effective immediately, everyone was out of a job. ‚ÄúI wish they‚Äôd have waited until after today to tell me,‚ÄĚ Alex lamented, before slipping back into Minogue-a-Mania almost immediately.
Once inside the newly-renovated ‚Äď and absolutely stunning, I might add ‚Äď Fox, a quick survey of the audience proved what any Kylie-ophile already knows. Unlike fellow dance music icons and gay favorites Madonna and, most recently, Lady Gaga ‚Äď who, in case you‚Äôre the single queen alive who missed it, collectively stunk up Saturday Night Live over the weekend ‚Äď Kylie has never truly reached prolonged mainstream pop star status in the U.S.
As a result, compared to the much more balanced gay-to-straight demographics at recent Madonna and Gaga performances I‚Äôve attended, Kylie‚Äôs audience proved about 90-percent queer. (You could immediately tell from the uneasy countenances and questionable fashion choices the straight guys who had been dragged to the show by girlfriends and wives.)
Even uber-faggot, renowned Will.i.am hater, and (in my opinion) overly-sensitive super-douche bag Perez Hilton, whose Perez Hilton Presents Tour featuring New Zealand pop act Ladyhawke at the Warfield went head-to-head with Kylie‚Äôs Sept. 30 opening night, was in the house. After tweeting about his backstage meeting with Kylie just before the show, the ‚Äú2 Hearts‚ÄĚ star later dedicated a song to the blogosphere superstar.
By the time Kylie emerged amid swirling fog and phantasmagoric lasers atop a disco‚Äôed out skull, everyone was more than ready for the party. And the diminutive pop music diva came to serve her rabid Stateside fanbase what it has waited more than two decades to experience.
As Kylie started ‚ÄúCan‚Äôt Get You Out of My Heat,‚ÄĚ some 50 feet ahead of us ‚Äď spitting distance from the stage ‚ÄĒ Sandra literally started to rise up out of the crowd. Dressed in a replica of Kyliee‚Äôs costume from the song‚Äôs video, Becky and Fruitbomb lifted her to lock eyes with her idol.
‚ÄúAlright, Miss Thang!‚ÄĚ Kylie said before launching into her 2001 international (and some would say ‚Äúcomeback‚ÄĚ) smash, ‚ÄúEveryone give her a round of applause!‚ÄĚ The crowd went bat-shit crazy ‚Äď and continued to do so for the next two hours.
Accustomed to selling out stadiums throughout the rest of the world, Kylie maximized every inch of the Fox stage, showing exactly why her shows have always drawn favorable comparisons to even Madonna‚Äôs most extravagant productions. With spectacular lighting, to-die-for costumes, giant screens constantly pulsing with visuals, a full band featuring a horns section, and eight back-up dancers, including one heavily tattooed male so hot I found myself completely distracted whenever he was onstage, it was 120 minutes of nearly nonstop sensory overload.
By the time the crowd streamed back toward the subway, there was no doubt we‚Äôd seen a show. And, though I had occasionally enjoyed her music before, I walked out of that theatre humming her hits as a bonafide Kylie Minogue fan.
In so many ways, the experience amped me up another notch on the universal gay-o-meter. I entered as a gay man and left a faggot. I‚Äôm so very glad I went. It means I can hold off on that anal bleaching.
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