Whitney in Glasgow...
News of the World: Whitney Houston, Glasgow Show Review
BARRY NICOLSON, 09/05/2010
THEY came expecting a trainwreck, they left having
witnessed a car-crash.
There were a few ways in which
Whitney Houston's first Scottish show in 11 years could have been worse. But
There were certainly none of the mass audience walkouts that have marred
previous shows on the 50-date Nothing But Love world tour (though this may
have had something to do with the crowd's determination to get their money's
worth from a £75-a-ticket show that had already been postponed once).
And the troubled superstar also managed to hoof her way through opening
numbers For The Lovers and Nothin' But Love proficiently enough, though the
songs themselves - both from last year's chart-topping comeback album I Look
To You - were hardly standouts.
But after that, the wheels came off with depressing inevitability.
It's no secret that Houston's voice isn't
what it used to be. But no self-respecting
diva would surrender the spotlight to her backing singers as readily or as
often as Houston does tonight,
At one point she abandons the stage altogether to let her older brother
warble his way through For The Love Of You over the sound of audience
chatter and ringing bar tills.
The long, semi-coherent rambles she embarks on between
every single song, meanwhile, point to a woman who's desperate to do
anything but sing. She blabbers on for
minutes at a time about Michael Jackson, Haiti, the Icelandic ash cloud and
anything else that pops into her head.
"We're only flesh and blood," she tells the crowd at one point. "You might
see me and my comrades as something else, but we are human and need your
support and love and care." Er, yes.
Unfortunately the New Jersey- born star is all-too human tonight.
Hacking her throat between almost every line she sings, she's visibly
exhausted and weirdly distracted on songs such as I Didn't Know My Own
Strength, I Love The Lord and Step By Step.
She does manage to scale the high notes of Saving All My Love For You to a
cacophany of applause.
But as the show goes on and THAT song approaches, you can almost sense her
When it comes, I Will Always Love You bears only a passing resemblance to
the original and feels horribly rushed, even with the minute-long break
Houston takes between the second and third lines to down a glass of water.
It's not so much a pause for dramatic effect, as a last-ditch attempt to
pull herself together. Either way, she fails.
For their part, however, the audience's enthusiasm never wavers.
Amazingly enough. They gamely spur her on
with cries of "You can do it, Whitney!" and cheer her every utterance.
They deserve some sort of medal for sticking with her, but it's clear at
this point that the last place Whitney Houston belongs right now is on tour.
6 MAY 2010