Abdul show: visual feast, but aural snack

November 22, 1991|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic

Largo -- Ever wonder what MTV would look like if it were live?

Apparently, Paula Abdul has. And last night at the Capital Centre, she did her best to make live MTV -- or at least a concert that looked as spectacular as any video -- a reality.

Some of her stunts were elegantly simple, as in "Straight Up," where she first mimicked the moves from her video, then danced along as the original was projected on a massive television screen behind her. At other times the performance was far more spectacular, like "Blowing Kisses in the Wind," which had two dancers soaring through the air like balletic Peter Pans.

In fact, there was so much stage business, so much visual dazzle, that the few moments in which Abdul really stood and sang -- "Rush Rush," for instance -- seemed startling in their understatement. No doubt about it, this show was a real feast for the eyes.

And a good thing, too, because as a singer, Abdul is quite a choreographer. She's not bad, mind you -- she didn't bungle notes or rely on obvious overdubs -- but without the protective coloring of her soulful backup singers, her sound would have been unimpressively thin.

But to tell the truth, it's doubtful whether too many of the (mostly young) fans in attendance were there only to listen. Like any group of MTV kids, they wanted to see what Abdul would do; how she would handle her duet with the animated M.C. Skat Kat, or how many dazzling outfits she would wear. And on that level, her show was simply spellbinding.

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