I wasn't fortunate enough to see the Golden Tour live, but thanks to fan recorded footage available on YouTube I've now watched three shows: the opening night in Newcastle, the follow up show in Nottingham and one of the London concerts.
I'll start with the most glaring criticism for me: the styling of the dancers. I'm not sure who styled them, but it seems that all the focus was on making Kylie look great with not as much attention paid to anyone else on the stage. The styling improved drastically in the second half, but at times it borders on unforgivable, particularly during In Your Eyes, A Lifetime to Repair, Wow and Can't Get You Out of My Head.
The setlist works much better in practice than it looks on paper, but the initial arrangement was stronger. One Last Kiss isn't one of my favourites on Golden, but it works well before Better the Devil You Know in the context of the narrative, and I Believe in You clearly doesn't fit as a replacement of Breathe. I think it could have worked following Confide in Me, but having its original uptempo arrangement feels silly during a section of the show which is meant to present Kylie as an open mic singer in a bar.
The narrative takes some getting used to because it's subtle and at first viewing some of the song choices are not very obvious insofar as the concepts that have been created. I do feel that a conscious decision was made to not stage this concert as a show in the sense that a typical Kylie concert would be conceptualised; I think with Golden offering a more intimate, low key musical direction the tour has been made to reflect that. The staging is more scaled back and there isn't as much visual spectacle; due to this I think a decision was made to place Kylie's natural presence at the forefront of the concert rather than have her play certain characters or personas as she would with a typical William Baker production.
There's a great deal to love here: the lighting in particular is fantastic, the musical direction is excellent; fresh and inventive interpretations of much of Kylie's back catalogue including In Your Eyes, Wow, Can't Get You Out of My Head, Slow, Wouldn't Change a Thing, All the Lovers and The Loco-Motion are among the show's highlights, and Kylie clearly has a strong connection to the Golden material. My appreciation of Radio On has improved drastically after seeing her perform it, whilst Lost Without You, my favourite song from Golden, is another strong point for me. It's a unique tour for Kylie, perhaps a little far removed from her usual concert experience, but it's all the better for me for that reason.
Vocally, this might be the best she's sounded on any tour. Her vocal control is brilliant, her range and tone broader; it's not surprising that she's been unwell with a throat infection given how much she's pushing herself vocally here. I was extremely surprised by how powerful her voice sounds. Her performance is confident and radiant. I think she feels passionately about this show and had much more of a creative input into the development of the tour.
I'm excited to see the tour with professionally recorded footage, and anxious to see if any exchanges will be made to the setlist or show when it resumes its dates next month. Overall, like Golden itself, I think this tour is a grower and one that you have an appreciation of overtime with repeated viewings. It isn't without flaws, but it's a very particular Kylie concert that I'm glad she has given to us, and the strengths of the tour succeed in spades.