Mariah Carey

By Christina Croucher

Artist:  Mariah Carey

Date / Venue:  Thursday November 13th, Vector Arena, Auckland

It was instant show time; hot pink lights flooded the stage at Vector Arena, dancers themed in New York street-style theatrically paraded in to an excitement-building crescendo of Mariah's impressively collaborated touring band. Videos of Mariah's earlier years were played on the screens making for an eager arrival. The band took ample time to craft a triumphant welcome to the pop-queen Mariah Carey, who glided onto stage in nothing less than a plunging black sequin gown.

There was a definitive moment of awe and excitement had by all as one of the classic divas of our era came into focus on our New Zealand stage with her effortless but undeniably larger-than-life stage presence. In true Mariah fashion, the vocal gymnastics started from the first note of Fantasy, in a seamless and natural way that not many artists can pull off.

Shortly after she was accompanied out on the arm of someone, as if she had made a special appearance. She was carried back in the arms of a sculpted male dancer who laid her down along a Grand Piano whilst another performed a romantic contemporary dance. She is such a superstar. The next mind-blowing performance was the passionate My All which Mariah sang breathtakingly well. She was escorted off the stage quite regularly throughout the evening which kept it really special when Mariah Carey did reappear like royalty in a glamourous new gown. It also made for fantastic instrumental time with her equally impressive band and troupe of exceptional dancers. I would actually pay to go to a show of just the band and the dancers as they were that amazing, but with big names like Trey Lorenz backing her, it was hardly surprising.

The Elusive Chanteuse Show greatly celebrated Mariah's career with the backdrop being a constant slide of all Mariah's video clips whist she sang a huge range of the old, the older and the new. She sang the fan favourite power ballads, to the fun, well-known tracks Beautiful, Touch My Body and I'm That Chick. She kept the crowd on their feet throughout the generous set whilst remaining gracefully calm, slowly strutting the stage. She made time to talk to the audience, stirring a playful Vegemite/ Marmite debate. Her performance is portrayed emotively through her face, voice and body language; she left the high energy buzzing for her dancers, band and video clips of younger years. There was a section in the middle that she did a "Don't Forget About Us" sequence of all her old hits played authentically by the band and her but only in 45sec or so snippets. It gave fans a generous amount of content but I wasn't as engaged as I was during the full tracks.

She introduced Hero as a nostalgic token which got the most emotive response from the audience of the night. She sang it flawlessly with her octave-travelling vocals whilst a slide show played of inspiring icons to everyday war heroes. She finished up the show with Always Be My Baby and We Belong Together.

Prior to the show I was partly expecting to go to a concert that was the last leg of of a superstar no longer in her prime, but she nailed it. It wasn't tragically clinging to the past for substantial content but rather celebrating her career whilst giving the crowd a high quality dose of industry-current R&B and pop. Thanks to her relevant band and timeless talent Mariah Carey still has "it".