Mariah Carey with Sean Paul at the Air Canada Centre, August 13. Tickets: $18-$109.50. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
It feels unkind and gratuitous to say anything mean about Mariah Carey - the woman's been through enough after her very public fall from grace in 2001, which featured an album that flopped, a feature film that flopped and a very strange appearance on MTV's Total Request Live.
I will say this, however: you'd think after all these years of dressing like a drag queen the woman would have learned to walk in heels. Her hour-and-a-half show was nerve-racking as she minced precariously across the stage.
It was obviously a practical rather than diva-like move to stop two lines into Vision Of Love so as to draw attention to a stiletto heel-sized hole in the stage. She was glad to have an excuse to start the song again, admitting she missed the first line anyway.
Despite the massive production of her Adventures Of Mimi tour - lights, dancers, singers, band, video screens and constant wind blowing across the stage and through Carey's hair - the whole business was a bit awkward and strange. Yeah, Carey is the queen of the vocals. She's got a fantastic, amazing voice as she showcased again and again running through her, what - 17, 18 - number one hits, pulling out the high-pitched vocal gymnastics wherever required and sending the gay guy next to me into squealing fits.
But Carey herself is awkward and strange, which is actually part of her charm. She's cute and quirky, keeping up chatter with the audience, insisting she doesn't want us to think she "didn't want to put on a good show."
She often seemed dwarfed by the trappings of her stage show and her band. The show lost momentum whenever she disappeared for one of many costume changes while a DJ played medleys of party tunes.
Her duet with Trey Lorenz, I'll Be There, was lovely but then we lost momentum again when she left for another costume change and Lorenz sang a tune off his upcoming album (Mimi Presents Trey Lorenz). He has a fine voice but it wasn't big enough for the venue and he should have taken off the sunglasses.
Finally, launching into Hero, Mariah suggested anyone who didn't like the song could take a bathroom break (I don't know if she was being facetious or seriously insecure). When the end came it came with a burst of purple confetti.