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 not many.

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 mounting dread.

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.

 

NEWSFILE: 6 MAY 2010
 

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