Promoter Defends Brisbane Performance...

Herald Sun: Whitney Houston promoter defends Brisbane concert after reports of her struggling during Brisbane leg of Nothing But Love tour
Cameron Adams From: Herald Sun, NewsCore February 23, 2010 10:46AM

UPDATE 2.10pm: PROMOTER Andrew McManus has defended Whitney Houston's Brisbane concert after mixed reviews from fans.
The show, the first of her Australian tour, has proved divisive, with some attendees slating the diva's performance.

But McManus said the singer, 46, was shocked by the negative reports of her concert.

Bloggers claimed a 'disoriented' Houston failed to hit high notes, appeared exhausted on stage and relied heavily on backing singers.

"I saw the whole show. Was it an A? No, it was probably a B+,'' McManus said.  "It was not a train wreck. She was hitting most of the notes, yes her throat was a little croaky.  "Her health is fine but she's also not 22 years of age anymore.

"She was on stage for two-and-a-half hours dancing, singing, running. Was she a little out of breath on a couple of songs? Yes she was. But I don't apologise for that, she had a red hot go.

"There were 9500 people there, 9000 gave her a standing ovation. There were so many happy faces, that's what she saw from the stage. So she's surprised by the negativity the morning after.  "She went to bed after the show giving a two-and-a-half hour solid performance, she was proud of it. She thought she gave her all and did a strong performance and I agreed with her.

"This was the first night of a tour after a long flight, she hasn't played for a while.  This is a tough country, you're going to be critiqued on your performance. At the end of the day it's not like the other act who was just here who didn't sing a note, she sang every single note.''

McManus admitted her voice is not as powerful as it was during the '80s and '90s.  The singer has revealed daily drug use during her turbulent marriage to Bobby Brown.  Their daughter, Bobbi Kristina, is accompanying Houston on the Australian tour.

"If the disgruntled few feel she wasn't up to scratch of the Whitney of 20 years ago I'd probably have to agree with them. But she performed the full concert.  "She performed all her hits. She did everything we promoted and said she'd do. It was a great performance. This is an icon of the business who hit rock bottom and is fighting back, instead of slamming her we should be praising her. 

"We're a nation who normally supports the underdog, she's the underdog and she's getting hammered. She's sensitive. She is someone who's 46 who hasn't performed in a long time.  "She's had some real lows in her life and she's proving she can fight back and give it a red hot crack. That's the attitude I thought people of Australia would embrace, unfortunately there's a minority who want to stick the boot in.''

Brisbane fan Trent Titmarsh was surprised at how much he enjoyed the show.  "I never was a big Whitney fan but I'll defend her as the two-hour plus show was better than I thought it would be and she is a true survivor.  "This is a woman who is nearly 50 years old and nearly died from drugs.  "Yeah, she was puffed after songs but that is because she worked the stage and danced her heart out on the opening numbers.  "Yes, she can't sing her power ballads from the 80's any more but she still gave us all that she can and it was still more than most 'singers' these days!''

Houston plays a sold out show at Rod Laver Arena on Monday, tickets are still available for the intimate Plenary show on March 6.

Britney Spears was also widely criticised during her Australian concert tour in November last year, with reports of disappointed fans walking out after she mimed the entire performance.

Now claims of walkouts have also stung Houston - but this time the power singer's breathless, exhausted performance is apparently to blame.  Concert-goers went to the Brisbane Courier-Mail website to label the 46-year-old's show "embarrassing", "terrible", "poor", "rambling" and "hopeless".  One said by the end of the concert Houston was being heckled by members of the audience and they had felt "cheated" by her performance. Others said they would be demanding their money back.

Houston got through just two songs at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre before taking a long break.  After a few more songs, during some of which she was heard to cough, Houston - appearing breathless and exhausted - left the stage to make way for her brother Gary to sing.  While she was off-stage her backup singers performed Queen of The Night, from The Bodyguard soundtrack.

During her signature song I Will Always Love You, from the same movie, Houston paused to get a drink and towel herself off just as she was about to hit the tune's epic high note.  Fans also claimed she left halfway through her own encore and she was off stage for 25 minutes of the 90 minutes running time.  "She was not fit to perform. She seemed to be on another planet, and the concert was laughable. When the back up singer's performance is the stand out for the night you know something is wrong," one fan wrote on the Courier-Mail website.  "To charge people for that, is just wrong. Her voice was gone, she spoke more than she sang. My husband left half way through he just couldn't watch anymore," another said.

"Whitney's ramblings, memory loss of one of her band members name, terrible voice and plain unprofessional performance will go down as one of the worst concerts ever. I certainly won't be rushing out to buy any more of her records. She has completely lost it and it was awful seeing so many people leaving, shaking their heads and laughing at her," a concert-goer wrote.

Houston, who has sold more than 170 million albums worldwide, suffered a major career setback after numerous drug problems plagued her and she endured an abusive relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown.  Her comeback tour is scheduled to continue in Sydney, the Hunter Valley and Adelaide, coming to Melbourne on March 6.

The concert follows reports last week that Houston was heard swearing a number of times after arriving in Australia.  Brisbane bus driver Tony Fulan said he suggested she should take off her hat and sunglasses to soak up the beautiful Queensland morning.  Fulan claimed she told him to mind his own business and "get f---ed".

Houston also got angry when her hired luxury car was not waiting at the doorstep of Brisbane International Airport on Saturday, according to The Courier-Mail.  "This is bull----," she said when forced to wait less than two minutes for her silver Mercedes-Benz to arrive.




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