Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue danced into the new year in Dubai.
For its New Year’s Eve bash, Atlantis, The Palm again pulled out all the stops to host one of the city’s most exclusive and lavish events.
Held within its Asateer tent and gardens, the event adopted a “Hollywood glamour” theme, featuring a red carpet with a Hollywood Walk of Fame (George Clooney and Marilyn Monroe were spotted) and images from classic films — including The Godfather, Pretty Woman and Grease — on the walls.
The biggest living star of the night was Minogue, however, who delivered a charming greatest hits set that ended at the stroke of midnight, setting off the hotel’s trademark eye-popping fireworks display.
With so much going on — including a 30-piece band performing frequently during the evening and an epic buffet offering everything from caviar to oysters — the success of the hotel’s New Year’s Eve parties doesn't solely rely on a concert by a major pop star.
That lack of pressure means artists are more laid back.
Similar to Robbie Williams last year, Minogue was relaxed and chatty with the crowd.
She also used the occasion to reminisce about her last performance at Atlantis, The Palm in 2008 as part of the celebrity-filled launch party.
“So it feels good to be back here among family,” she remarked.
The freewheeling interaction aside, Minogue’s set was super tight.
Backed by a seven-piece band and eight dancers, she grooved her way through a winning selection of hits encapsulating her nearly four-decade career.
Beginning with the throbbing club beats of Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Minogue was all twirls and hip-swivels with a largely ballad-less set, also including dance-tastic anthems Spinning Around and In Your Eyes.
Minogue's latest hit, 2020's brilliant Magic, also got a run and its affecting blend of disco and funk reminded us she is not a total legacy act.
That said, what makes Minogue concerts magic is her unapologetic embrace of her fluffy early hits.
One can also see within those songs how pop music is essentially a conservative genre with new works often building off the tired and tested formulas of the past.
When Minogue performed the 1989 UK chart-topping hit Especially for You, with the backing singers taking over Jason Donovan's vocals, I realised it is part of a long tradition of love-struck star duets leading right into 2019’s Senorita by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.
And when The Loco-Motion arrived, eliciting a train line from the crowd, I was reminded of other ecstatic and supremely silly hits that came afterwards such as Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass.
It also didn’t take me long to realise these kinds of musings are not exactly what a Kylie Minogue concert and New Year’s Eve celebrations should be about.
By the time she performed the storming On a Night Like This and the closer Love at First Sight, I was in the mix of it on the dance floor in what was a stellar evening.