Mariah Carey performed at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario on February 9th, 2010. I saw her at this venue previously on her Emancipation of Mimi tour, but this was the first time I felt like I actually saw her. There was too much distracting from her on the previous tour … the elaborate stage, the video segue ways, the pre-taped guest appearances doing duets with her, and points in the show where the DJ took over during costume changes. It was an awe inspiring set-up but her voice is awe inspiring enough to be the focus. This time around, I was glad to see a stripped down stage. The extents of the special effects were the lights around the double frame of the stage which changed colours throughout the show. The band was elevated, and for the majority of the time she stayed on the bottom tier with her dancers. Instead of DJ segue ways, the band locked the audience into portions of her hits such as Make it Happen.
The 45 minute wait for her to take the stage after the opening act was expected as far as I was concerned. People kept wondering why she was so late, but as I read: the 45 minutes had pretty much been a mainstay for each show.
Her entrance: being lowered down on a swing to the Butterfly Intro/Daydream Intro in an elaborate ruffled gold gown looking like what one reviewer called “a high end cupcake.” To take the bakery reference further, she had everyone’s eyes glazed over at the sight of her radiant smile as she was gracefully lowered to the ground. The dancers ripped off a tear away portion of the bottom of the gown when her feet hit the ground. Her voice soared flawlessly for the whole night; although she complained of fighting a cold, she effortlessly ducked every punch and jab it took at her.
Obsessed, sounded so much better with a full live band than the recorded version. Not that the recorded version was bad by any means; the band was just digging into it so deeply in concert, and sometimes live drums make all the difference.
The only time she lost the audience attention was with using Diana Ross’ Love Hangover as an intro for Heartbreaker. As great of a song as it is, her voice did not seem to cut through the band enough on it, and I do not think that most of her audience recognized it. If she would have pared it down to only her and keys it would have been a much more effective, and intimate of a moment. Perhaps she should also have introduced it as a shout out to Diana Ross.
I have read reviews complaining that Mariah needs to move more on stage. I differ in opinion. A singer doing choreography usually results in the vocal performance not being as great as it could be, or lip syncing. Leave the choreography to her dancers; I want to hear her voice.
Personal highlights: My All, Obsessed, Honey, Always Be My Baby, and her filming the 100% video.
My homage to her song We Belong Together; they misspelled my name but you get the point 😉
Jef Kearns is a Soul Flautist proving that flute can get down-and-dirty.
Check him out at www.jefkearns.com