Urging Whitney On...

Herald Sun: Willing Melbourne fans urge on Whitney Houston at Rod Laver show

REPORTS of Whitney Houston's career-death have been greatly exaggerated.

Given some of the post-show comments - by journalists and the public - after Houston's Brisbane and Sydney shows you half expect her to collapse on stage or not sing a note.

On the contrary - her sold out Rod Laver Arena show last night was - for the majority - pure superstar material. Houston is just a more human superstar in 2010, now with added flaws that give her character.

Were you at Whitney Houston's Melbourne concert? Tell us what you thought of the show in the comments below

She hits all the right notes in I Look to You, the new song about what she calls her ''down times.'' Indeed every time she hits a huge note her devoted audience break into applause.

I have rarely seen an audience so behind an artist, willing her on. Before THAT note in I Will Always Love You the audience give her a standing ovation, someone even yells ''You can do it'' - and she does, 90 minutes into the concert.

Those saying Houston should not be on tour are misguided - these are her people and they are thrilled to see her back on stage. And Houston knows she's in her element.

Perhaps all the haters (Houston referenced her bad Australian press during the show) have spurred her on - there was no hint of train wreck and Houston looked defiant with something to prove.

Sure she's eccentric - at times looking in her own world and slightly bonkers - but who wants normal stars? The feeling of `What will she do next?’ was quite exciting – reminding you she’s a diva, unlike many of today’s beige robotic, over-thought performers.

At one point Houston did her own make up on stage, once sang directions to staff and giggled to herself. However there were no signs of excessive sweating, minimal holding onto towels and hardly any coughing.

Yes she went off stage for a costume change that lasted around 15 minutes. Many other artists call this an interval (there's one in the George Michael show for instance). However instead of stopping the show, Houston's brother Gary performs a gospel number and her backing singers get a moment to shine on Queen of the Night.

Yes it would have been great to have Houston join in, but it wasn't like she shied away from uptempo numbers once she returned to the stage.

Houston belted out hits like The Greatest Love of All, All at Once and Step by Step with that spine-tingling voice in full effect.

My Love Is Your Love and It's Not Right But It's Okay were delivered just as you remembered them.

Unlike Britney Spears' autopilot show, Houston chatted and engaged with the crowd. She got emotional on a Michael Jackson tribute and got well and truly in the vocal zone during her gospel segment.

And going into this show expecting little, it feels patronising to comment that she can still sing or compare her voice to what it used to be. You presume Houston and the team around her (she's managed by members of her family) would not put her on stage if she could not deliver.

The only niggles were the talk-singing of I Wanna Dance With Somebody and How Will I Know at the end of the show, with the audience singalong and her amazing backing vocalists saving the day.

But they're minor gripes - if she keeps up this quality - Houston, we do not have a problem.

Houston returns to Melbourne to play at the Plenary on Saturday.

Special mention should go to support Anthony Callea's impressive performance – including a brilliant cover of Heart’s Alone.

Note: The Herald Sun did not receive free tickets from the promoter after review tickets were withdrawn yesterday.

: 2 MARCH 2010


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