J and I went to New York to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary week before last. Traditionally, the first year is the paper anniversary, and as it turned out, that was quite appropriate, because we both got each other tickets for stuff.
The impetus to go to NYC in the first place was, as I mentioned earlier, the historic appearance of Kylie Minogue on American soil, right around our anniversary date! (I got the Kylie tickets.)
And what a show it was! It's not often I use the word "extravaganza" unironically, but Kylie's Monday show on Oct. 12 was a freaking extravaganza. Kylie performed 24 songs in a little under two hours with barely a break. There were eight dancers, a live band with a horn section, impressive sets and a group of movable LED screens that augmented the sets and the atmosphere, and kept the spectacle going whenever Kylie and the dancers had to slip offstage for one of six costume changes.
Kylie came into our world as she was lowered on a big shiny skull with an apparent fire in it (?) doing the classic countdown intro to "Light Years." I'm not sure what the deal with the skull was; maybe giving death the finger after surviving breast cancer?
Apparently, the first costume change didn't work properly, so in what I consider to be a typical Kylie move, she came back onstage in her "space goddess" costume and her dancers handed her a big flouncy robe to sing in. So cute. Honestly, though, that might have been part of the show. I'm not sure; I couldn't hear or understand a lot of what she said between songs.
But I heard what she sang just fine, and she sounded lovely. The voice that seems a little nasal in the studio came out as a beautiful, rich soprano in concert, and only seemed to get stronger as the show went on. Before the finale of "Love At First Sight," she led the audience in a soaring a capella singalong of "Your Disco Needs You."
J took a picture of me watching the show and later told me, "You looked like it was Christmas morning." I couldn't believe I was actually watching someone whose music I've loved for years, and who's been something of a personal inspiration, and that I was so close to her. The dazzling spectacle of Kylie's show was appreciated, to be sure, but what mattered most to me was the honor, if you will, of watching a master do what she does.
I still don't get the flaming skull, though.
J had bought us some tickets as well: two fourth-row seats at "A Steady Rain," starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. Talk about watching masters do what they do!
The play itself was kinda meh; it would have made a pretty good episode of Law & Order. Two childhood friends grow up to become Chicago cops, and during the course of the play, the role of alpha dog subtly shifts. But, as my friend Gabriel wisely pointed out, people weren't there to see the play itself.
One of my favorite aspects of the play was the casting: it would have been so easy to have Daniel Craig play the bully and Hugh Jackman play the more sensitive lost soul, but they flipped the roles. The result is a Jackman whose showman energy makes him a bad guy you almost hate to hate, and a Craig who seems almost to apologize for his presence. It's fantastic work on both their parts.
Like the Kylie show, seeing Jackman and Craig in person was something of a once-in-a-lifetime event. Now that I think of it, so was our first anniversary.
(When we arrived home, I learned my unemployment benefits would be running out that week, and two days later I got a major case of the flu. But for that five-day weekend, all was lovely.)