(Shown actual size -- I kid!)
She's back! If you thought something had been missing from the world of pop music -- some kind of sweet, effervescent sparkle -- you were right. But this past weekend, Kylie Minogue returned to the stage in
her hometown of Sydney, Australia, resuming her "Showgirl" tour after taking a year-and-a-half-long break to battle -- and defeat! -- breast cancer.
I'm not the only one squealing in delight, either. Kylie is one of the planet's biggest pop stars -- and one of its smallest, standing only 60 inches high. Sadly, her fame in the U.S. is mostly limited to fans of dance music and gay clubs, but I like to think that just means she can move more freely here and not worry about being mobbed on her way to the Starbucks. (If you'd like to give Kylie a listen, may I recommend the "Light Years" album as an excellent starting place.)
But Kylie isn't just the creator of some of the most perfect dance-pop music on Earth. She's also nearly universally respected and adored by her fellow musicians. Bono took a break from saving the continent of Africa to join Kylie onstage in Sydney. As two sang "Kids," a duet she had originally recorded with Robbie Williams, Bono embraced Kylie and knelt before her. I can't say as I blame him.
I've always loved Kylie's music, but I blossomed into a full-on fangirl after seeing a BBC interview with her in which she discussed being diagnosed with breast cancer and what she learned from the experience. In one of my favorite anecdotes in the interview, she told of visiting a children's theater organization in Sri Lanka that formed after the 2004 tsunami. Girl is recovering from cancer (and chemotherapy, which is an ordeal unto itself), but she still finds a way to help others.
Immediately after Kylie's diagnosis, the number of Australian women receiving breast cancer screenings more than doubled; a year later, it was still 40% higher than before her diagnosis. The phenomenon has been dubbed "the Kylie effect," and in the BBC interview, she spoke with delight and awe over having influenced so many women to take better care of themselves.
(In a strange sort of way, Kylie even helped me take better care of myself. Several months ago, I was watching the BBC America broadcast of a performance from the "Showgirl" tour done several weeks before Kylie's diagnosis with cancer. Seeing her beaming from the stage, leading the crowd in singalongs, I started thinking about how much Kylie clearly loves her fans and started tearing up as a result. And that's when I knew I had to go back on antidepressants, because if Kylie Minogue is making you cry, that's a big thump on the head from the universe. I'm better now, or so I like to think.)
So welcome back, Kylie. I've missed you!