Sydney, March 2 (DPA) Fans walked out on singer Whitney Houston and her tour manager hid from critics after a Melbourne concert that at best revealed ‘added flaws that give her character’, and at worst was ‘as terrible as everyone said it was’. Houston, who has sold 170 million records, was flayed for concerts in Brisbane and Sydney in which she forgot lyrics, had coughing fits and mistook the names of her band. The same barbs were levelled against the 46-year-old after the first of two Melbourne gigs.
Tuesday’s reviews echoed earlier accounts of dates on the Australian leg of her first world tour in 10 years.
‘Houston is a mere shadow of the diva she once was,’ Robyn Riley wrote in the Herald Sun. ‘She deserves credit for putting it out there and giving it her best shot, but these days her best shot falls well short of the mark.’
Bianca Allaway, who left before fellow fans helped Houston through to the end of show-stopper I Will Always Love You, said: ‘It was the worst concert ever.’
Laurie Caulfield told The Australian newspaper of a 90-minute show punctuated by lengthy rest breaks and a 15-minute costume change. ‘We went in with an open mind, but it really was as terrible as everyone said it was,’ he said.
‘It was very disappointing to see and hear Whitney attempt songs when she does not have the capacity to hold a note, sing in key or keep time with the band,’ Michael Boyd wrote to his local paper. ‘I can’t believe the promoter would allow such a performance to continue.’
Fans sprang to Houston’s defence, with Zoe Wiles arguing in a letter to the Sun Herald: ‘People need to be realistic. Yes, it probably wasn’t as good as it would have been had the concert been held 20 years ago, but as a whole it was great.’
Promoter Andrew McManus refused comment on the Melbourne show.
‘It is what it is,’ he said after negative reviews in Brisbane and Sydney. ‘She’s comfortable with the show she’s performing. She knows she’s not hitting every note like she used to. But it’s value for money. It’s Whitney Houston, warts and all.’