Live photos and review: Kylie Minogue holds court at Hammerstein Ballroom

Photos: Sophie Harris
And so finally the eagle has landed. Or rather, the diminutive lady riding on a massive plastic skull descending from the top of the stage has landed: Kylie Minogue played NYC last night as part of her first-ever USA tour. The show was as razzle-dazzle a spectacle as you could feasibly put on at Hammerstein Ballroom—and in fact, one wonders if it wouldn't have been more sensible to play one big arena date, rather than three packed nights at this venue where sight lines are so limited. Still, such quibbles didn't seem to bother the 2,500-strong crowd last night—and Minogue  knows her audience. In addition to the multiple costume changes and slick dance routines, her video screens beamed out images of naked hunks in the shower (while real ones faux-showered onstage) as well as Minogue in black-and-white 1940s-style homages to such classics as Now, Voyager. More details? Read on!

The show's highlights included an immaculate, witty rendition of "I Just Can't Get You Out of My Head," with Minogue luminescent in white silk and matching captain's hat; and a simmering "Slow," which featured lasers galore and had Kylie's backing troupe kitted out in S&M-style gas masks. Less interesting to me were her '80s hits; having grown up in '80s Britain, where literally every song in the top ten was produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman (the shamelessly commercial production trio that gave Minogue her start), these tracks hold little thrill. But Kylie's devoted audience roared its appreciation. "What's that?" she asked. "You lined up at 2am to see me? You nutter!"

The show most impressed in its less-hysterical moments. "Confide in Me" had Minogue supine on a chaise longue backdropped by a ravishing sepia image of NYC. A grown woman now, she looked elegant and relaxed in vintage mode; similarly, her voice really soars into the high notes in these moodier numbers. "I Believe in You" (cowritten with Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears) was lovely; beginning restrained and then blossoming into a string-strung, shimmering climax (complete with a shower of rose petals).

And of course, there was saucy Kylie. A cover of Madonna's "Vogue" had the pop star in a black PVC corset with black feather headdress; she delivered a slow, suggestive version of "The Locomotion" over brushed cymbals, providing the night's David Lynch--ian moment. "That's the modern version," Minogue beamed. "What's that? The Brooklyn version? Yes!"

Key to MInogue's charm is that she really seems to enjoy what she does. "This is my first bite of the Big Apple," she said, returning to the stage in a gold sequin catsuit for her encore—"and it tastes good!" She closed the show with "Love at First Sight." The admiration certainly seemed mutual.

Minogue plays two more nights at Hammerstein Ballroom. They're lining up outside already...