It's been almost four years since Mariah Carey has toured and although her Angels Advocate Tour hasn't brought in the numbers that 2006's The Adventures of Mimi Tour had, her fans (lovingly known as Lambs), are still devout. Case in point, her Mimi Tour sold out on two separate nights here in Toronto. Promoters this time around struggled to fill Air Canada Centre, resulting in Carey's stage being brought in closer to the audience for a more intimate feel. Just last week alone, 300 section tickets were being sold as part of a two for one deal. Needless to say, those seats filled quickly. I myself was originally to be seated in the 20th row on the floor, but got promoted ahead three rows due to lower than anticipated ticket sales. No complaints here.
After making her fans wait over 90 minutes, Carey finally arrived on stage shortly after 9:00 PM EST, but not after the prolonged wait drew mixed boos and cheers. Descending upon the audience on a swing seat, she performed an intro combo Butterfly/Fantasy Interlude. She looked every bit a goddess in a ruffled gold number which complemented her very present cleavage. She then delivered a musical triple-axle of Shake it Off, Touch My Body and Fly Like a Bird. Her voice was quite nasal this evening due to a cold she caught from one of her male dancers last week and she asked the audience for mercy. Was this in response to an accusation of her stalling work ethic made by blogger Perez Hilton today?
Oddly, Carey let her band and backing dancers do most of the work on the inspirational Make it Happen, while she changed into a form-fitting silver number, then suddenly reappearing on stage to deliver some ad libs and a final chorus. She mimed the vocals to two tracks from her latest effort Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel - Angels Cry and The Impossible. She revealed that the latter was written for her husband Nick Cannon before the audience - mostly gay men and girls in their twenties - feasted their eyes on a fit male dancer writhing about on stage.
One quality that defines Carey as an entertainer is the genuine love she has for her fans. Unlike a Madonna or a Britney Spears concert, you get interaction at Carey's shows. She recognized one male fan named Alexander who has attended all three of her Canadian dates. Tonight she had the spotlights directed at him and shared a glass (yes, literally the same glass) of champagne with him, also taking an opportunity to introduce a Rosé Champagne she will be introducing to the market soon.
It was a great surprise to see Carey perform her mash-up of Diana Ross' Love Hangover with number one hit Heartbreaker. Some of us may remember her performing this on a VH1 Divas Live Diana Ross Tribute back in 2000. Undeniably, the highlights of the show were her renditions of My All which had her being carried off stage by a dancer, and also Always Be My Baby. The latter had the audience waking from the dead, showing its first sign of forgiveness for her tardiness. They sang along and waved their hands in unison. By the end of the show, Carey had just enough left in the tank to belt out We Belong Together, recently crowned number one song of the 2000s by Billboard Magazine. And it was fabulous - all the way through its demanding final chorus.
Toronto fans had the privilege of being chosen as part of her new video for 100%, originally intended for the film Precious for which she recently won acting honours. In her typically self-aware manner, she received touch-ups from a team of three stylists on stage, before giving us simple instructions to show her our Number Ones. This is a gesture which simply requires the raising of the index finger in the air, as cameras recorded the enthused audience in motion. The track which is now being used for the 2010 Olympics, will be appearing on her forthcoming release Angels Advocate, Carey's thirteenth studio album and second remix album.
The show was capped off shortly before 11:00 PM EST with an encore of her signature ballad Hero, which her fans never grow tired of hearing. In all honesty, this was my only opportunity tonight to snap a photo or two. Security this evening had fully enforced a no photograph policy. I myself witnessed a good number or fans getting their cameras confiscated or even escorted off premises. Call her a diva - she definitely knows it.
In all, the Angels Advocate Tour falls short of the spectacle she gave her fans on her previous tour. But even in its scaled down form and without her usual level of energy, the audience still got what it came for - Carey's wondrous instrument of a voice and quality time with her. Grade: B