Review: Mariah Carey at Leeds Arena
April 6, 2016
Mariah Carey. Simply the mention of her name connotes success, diamonds, expensive liquors and a manipulation of the vocal octaves, achieved by no-one. For her first European tour in over 13 years, Mariah graced our city of Leeds for a one night only history lesson, on why her ability and talent has transcended the past two decades.
‘Dem chickens is ash and I’m lotion’, nobody puts it better than Mimi herself. The incomparable R&B honey, brought an abundance of glamour, glitter and excess to the city, whipping the crowd into a feverish frenzy in the process. Expectantly arriving an hour later than anticipated, The boos and frustrations of the crowd were instantly soothed the second the lights dimmed and the towering digital MC on screen blazed alive. It must be noted, that very few have probably begun their show by being elevated by backup dancers and draped over a velvet chaise longue chair, yet this is how Mariah starts. She coos through the opening of the classic, ‘Fantasy’, even serving her Leeds fans an extra treat, by mixing it in with the bassline soaked ‘Def Club Mix’, delighting the packed arena in the process.
Borrowing elements from her recent Vegas residency, Mariah kept the pace of the show at a constant. She left the stage four times to change into four, shinier-than-the-last outfits, and was constantly interacting with the audience via the usual diva skits that we’ve all become accustomed to. Her voice was spectacular, dishing up fan favourites, and tearing through throwbacks such as sugar sweet ‘Emotions’, the sultry ballad ‘My All’ and the summertime favourite ‘Always Be My Baby’ in the first 15 minutes alone. Her voice is unparalleled. She still easily saunters through her expansive catalogue of mega hits, batting every high note in the process. The audience struggles to keep up with her vocal rollercoaster, yet still scream the words back to the stage.
It’s easy to forget the wealth of her career and the genres to which she has moulded her sound. The middle section showcases the hip-hop influences of her 20+ years, providing rare performances of the 2005 ‘Shake It Off’, ’It’s Like That’ and the Busta Rhymes party sizzler ‘I Know What You Want’. Though these delight, its her signature break up song, ‘Heartbreaker’ that truly electrifies the audience, bringing everyone to their feet for dancing. Keeping up the speed, she closely follows this by segueing into the softer ballads yet again, as the late, great, Whitney Houston joins Mariah on screen for their Oscar winning duet ‘When You Believe’, truly thrilling the crowd.
Overall, MC set out to simply remind the audience of her status in the realm of pop, and that she is, and will remain to be one of our greatest stars. Her vamps and vocal acrobatics across the stage, show she is still in her element in the live show, and is still capable of holding the full attention of the audience through her hour and half set. Her final songs, ‘Without You’ and ‘We Belong Together’ highlight her at her best, simply her voice blazing throughout the arena, leaving everyone in disbelief that is actually real.