Australian pop star Kylie Minogue kicked off her first-ever American tour with a driving disco beat, a bevy of well-muscled dancers, and a lot of leg, hoping to finally crack the lucrative U.S. market.
The pop diva, no stranger to spectacle, made her first appearance adorned in pink feathers as she was lowered onto the stage from a metallic skull.
"Well, good evening -- finally!" exclaimed the 41-year-old Grammy-winning singing, who has never toured the United States before. "All this anticipation -- on my part!"
In a fast-paced, two-hour show, Minogue made her way through her international hits, including "Slow," "Spinning Around" and "Wow." But the biggest applause greeted "Can't Get You Out of My Head," her 2001 club hit.
The tour, which began Wednesday night in Oakland outside San Francisco, takes Minogue to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, with one stop in Toronto.
Minogue first began her career as an actress on the Australian soap opera "Neighbors," but was catapulted to fame after her 1987 remake of '60s hit "Locomotion" hit the top of the charts.
Some 10 studio albums have followed and a handful of movies, giving Minogue mega-star status in Britain, Europe and Asia as well as her native Australia.
Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 but she returned to performing after recovering from surgery and chemotherapy. In a world tour last year she visited more than 21 countries.
Her career also includes a lingerie line, perfumes, linen and a children's book.
But the star, who has a wax image of her likeness in Madame Tussauds, has never quite managed to crack the U.S. market, a notion that seemed incomprehensible to one fan.
"Americans are stupid, obviously," said Dustin Thornhill, 28, of San Francisco, who was at the show with friend Nicky Bangles, 24. The pair planned to see Minogue again in Los Angeles.
"We're stalking her -- sort of," Thornhill said.
Like many in the audience, the two said they were thrilled to finally have the opportunity to see Minogue perform.
"We're so excited. We've been waiting millions of years," Bangles said, adding that Minogue is an icon to gay men.
"She wears outfits that are amazing. What gay man wouldn't love it?" Bangles asked, adding, "Madonna who?"
To a constantly shifting set of images projected on a video backdrop -- including some of well-chiseled men in the shower and others working out with gym equipment -- Minogue and her scantily-clad dancers made their way through a series of hits.
The singer delivered the sassy fashion she is known for, sporting a host of leg-baring outfits that included silver tunics, black boots, a Nautical cap and a sparkly black leotard.
"Kylie's a diva!" gushed Todd Hedgpeth, 39, of San Francisco.
Minogue littlest American fan at the concert may have been Alexis Chiu, 9, who was looking at the T-shirts for sale with her mother, Donna. Why was she at Minogue's first U.S. tour?
"I've liked her since I was a baby," said the youngest Chiu.
"She likes that "Na, na, na" song," explained her mother.
(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)
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