Get your sweat rags ready, and no it's not front row at a Whitney Houston concert, it's the RHI at Mardi Gras! Hotter than a whorehouse in Singapore, the RHI was supposed to be THE place to be this party, but for the massive heat inside, its was the death of the party.
No matter how huge the anthem, or how sparkly the show - the venue totally killed any enjoyment without the need of a squeegee mop, a bex and a lie down. No wonder the medical trolley was flying back and forth all night.
But aside from that, the party seemed to be more massive than the meager 12,000 punters that came through the turnstiles, it seemed like it was back at the peak of the 25,000 heyday parties that everyone compares things too. Was i wrong, or was the party just tighter than most years? It felt huge, packed and pumping - at least until around 3am that is.
The opening show at Midnight was the drag "spectacular". Now personally I loved it as it was headed up by the one and only Mitzi Macintosh, but unfortunately the staging did no favours to the production. I blinked and missed another of my favourites, Verushka Darling, only being told she was in the show after the fact. Costuming of course was brilliant, but the centre stage came to be more of a pain in the ass than originally thought - after briefings from Mardi Gras and the big sell, I was thinking it would allow more space in the hall - only to find that the DJ booth was now where the stage used to be, and possibly took up a bigger footprint - all a good idea in theory, but when stage visuals (cherubs and plastic flowers) completely blocked the view of the shows at particular angles, then you have a bigger problem.
Eyelines and overall show visuals were lost with this setup - the height of the stage made it difficult to see past the initial sight line you personally had in the area on which you were standing - and I also didn't see a "movable" lighting rig… all i saw was the sails/panels go up and down.
Ok, bitch factor to off now, but i am only pointing out the party points that Mardi Gras itself raised as selling points… to me, they made the party less enjoyable. And I am probably whinging more about production elemnets that most folk don't know or care about.
George Michael's show was a special moment, and it was great he FINALLY decided to say yes - even trying to bow out at the last moment… but "tricking" the audience with Drag King Rocco D'Amore was not a good idea… imaging if he did pull out and Rocco had to do the show himself… there would have been riots!
George sealed the deal for me, when he face slammed into the dancer that was allocated to walk him back up the stairs… with all the too-ing and fro'ing about George's actual involvement, the show seemed slapped together and sloppy,. but really, who cares when one of the worlds biggest stars is on stage! For pure goosebump effect it was priceless… just like the faces on the folks standing in the que to get in AFTER the show - realising they had missed out.
Kelly Rowland TOTALLY stole the entire evening, with her same sex wedding - from the backstage rumours I heard, someone from NMG said that the James Lee produced, Cameron Mitchell Choreographed show wasn't "Gay enough" - are you fucking blind? A same sex wedding - lots of same sex couplings… the ONLY thing that wasn't gay on that stage was KELLY! and even then i had my doubts! lol… I must admit - I always question Mardi Gras shows for pairing boys and girls together for lifts etc… i know its always done for "strength" etc.. but why not select dancers that CAN work in same sex pairings? It would have so much more impact. Kudos to the boys on putting together the standout show of the night - I personally cannot wait til your next collaboration!
The Amanda Lapore number was visually spectacular, but PLEASE could you have dropped the Lady GaGa reference, i know the choreographers THE SQUARED DIVISION are massive (and i mean massive - the boys do a kick ass Lady GaGa tribute show around Australia) fans of the Ga, but seriously - it just lined people up for disappointment… no matter how glam Ms Lapore is, she aint no Lady GaGa. I love the big blow up muscle man… can i buy that for my next house party? I think that should have stayed up all night! It had A FAN inside it - it would have helped with the heat!
Adam Lambert closed out the party show wise, and totally nailed it - vocally he was sensational - and that cod piece, well, it was just enormous! Alas, the dancing was a little too schools spectacular for me. A little to drag queens doing the splits, rather than rocky sexual punk.
The DJ's throughout the venues were fabulous… the Dome and The Forum went off at key moments. I LOVED the Dome set of LEOMEO - just sensational - I only wanted to leave to get back for the shows… and i am not normally a fan of the Dome. Guetta rocked - aside from the heat clearing out the venue and Dan Murphy was THE DJ of the night - solidly packing them in, despite the health risks.
The Hordern was resplendent in its basic set up - but it totally worked, it was an entire party unto itself…. i loved the centre piece for the History Of The World Logo and the staging was fab.
All in all - we had a fabulous time - getting to hang with some of the worlds biggest stars was a trip - with Lisa getting a kiss from George Michael, Aaron making the cover of SX Magazine, Myself, JP and Marky bumping into our European mates Mary Kiani and Lee form Bimbo Jones - it was a kick ass event.
It WAS surprising that the crowd was not bigger, but a big congratulations to Mardi Gras for managing a great event, that not only rescued a potentially disastrous situation (parade and party split) but managed to turn a profit and help see this great festival into another year of operation and hopefully beyond. Now they just have to keep securing BIG BIG names… Mardi Gras now has to stand on its own against festivals, tours and other events that demand less from their punters, but knowing the kids at Mardi Gras, they WILL work their asses off.
See you at Sleaze Ball!