Mariah Carey is a legend. End of. There are very few that are comparable to: the songbird supreme, the voice, Mimi…she has many guises, many titles and yet they all fit superbly and during her residency at the legendary Royal Albert Hall, she failed to disappoint with The Caution World Tour.
The show opened on current single ‘A No No’, a sassy kiss-off to an ex-lover with the wonderfully sampled ‘Crush On You’ by Lil’ Kim and whilst the rumoured collab between the two never happened, the original is still so sensational and it was the perfect track to kick off the show…it’s fresh, it’s catchy, it sits well within Mariah’s back catalogue and could easily find itself being thrown into a megamix alongside ‘Obsessed’, ‘Migrate’, ‘Heartbreaker’ or ‘Loverboy’.
Whilst the focus of ‘The Caution World Tour’ was to highlight Mariah’s most recent record, ‘Caution’, which dropped last year and is by far in her top 5 albums, there were only a few ‘Caution’ tracks performed – album favourites like ‘The Distance’, ‘Giving Me Life’ and ‘Portrait’ were notably absent from the show, and the only actual ‘Caution’ tracks performed were the title track, the promo single ‘GTFO’, ‘A No No’, and ‘Stay Long Love You’ (during which she waltzed off midway through leaving her dancers to impress). Considering the tour was in favour of ‘Caution’, it’d have been nice to have a couple more songs from the record…but then again…I’m just being nitpicky as I wouldn’t have swapped any of the older hits for a newer track.
One of the highlights of the show had to be the #JusticeForGlitter segment. ‘Glitter’ has always appeared to be quite the stain on Mariah’s back catalogue; the black sheep almost, and whilst she’s always performed ‘Loverboy’ (I say always because I’d seen ‘Sweet Sweet Fantasy’ in Manchester and she performed it then), she never performs any other ‘Glitter’ tracks, and it seemed like such a shame because the soundtrack itself is actually sensational. Thankfully, she wheeled out some of the highlights – in particular ‘Never Too Far’, which has to be one of Mariah’s strongest moments in her entire discography,. and which she performed effortlessly. She also gave ‘Didn’t Mean To Turn You On’ and ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’ an Albert Hall performance, as well as ‘Loverboy’. She was draped in this boa and gave it to one of the fans at the beginning of the performance before kindly asking for it back…
Mariah’s performativity cannot be matched. She has the most incredible stage presence – she has this essence of diva mixed with campness but can strip it right back for goosebump-worthy performances and you can be assured that her performance at the Royal Albert Hall was a spine-tingling performance. Mariah gave a tribute performance to Luther Vandross and performed their duet ‘Endless Love’ for the first time in years, and had almost half the venue reduced to tears…30 minutes later, she was flinging a boa around the place…you can’t match the dynamics at a Mariah Carey concert.
The final note needs to be how great a songwriter Mariah is. I’m happy that during the promo for the album ‘Caution’, her songwriting was the narrative she and her team were pushing. It’s undeniable that tracks like ‘My All’, and ‘We Belong Together’ lyrically are some of the most superb of her work and with that, Mariah’s knowledge of her own back catalogue makes for a really interesting artist, performing a deep album cut like ‘You Don’t Know What To Do’ seems like a random and risky choice, but the lambs ate it up. Same with the whole #JusticeForGlitter segment of the show; it really serves an idea for the next Mariah spectacle – a rare B Sides and album tracks show, but of course, with a few singles to close the show because what would a Mariah show be without ‘We Belong Together’? One thing that cannot be matched is Mariah’s star power and her shows at The Royal Albert Hall proved that she lives up to all her monikers.