Mariah Carey urges fans to protect your dreams |

Thursday 18 April 2024

Mariah Carey urges fans to "protect your dreams"

Moments before wrapping her glossy and efficient new residency show, Mariah Carey wanted to share a message. "Protect your dreams," she intoned on video as the text scrolled across a halo of lighting. "It's all about faith. For me, I can't define it, but it has defined me."

Uplifting messages permeate Carey's production at Dolby Live at Park MGM, officially dubbed Mariah Carey: The Celebration of Mimi Live in Las Vegas.

The 90-minute show - Carey's third Vegas residency - debuted last week in honor of the near-20-year anniversary of "The Emancipation of Mimi" album. After performances on April 24, 26 and 27, she'll return for eight dates in July and August. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. PT Friday via

Much like U2's recent run at the Sphere, where "Achtung Baby" grabbed the spotlight, Carey's show ostensibly highlights her hip-hop-inflected return in 2005. "Mimi" not only snagged eight Grammy nominations in 2006, but with bright production from Jermaine Dupri, birthed hits "Shake It Off", "We Belong Together" and "It's Like That", among others.

Devout fans will cherish hearing "Fly Like a Bird" - which closes her set - and "I Wish You Knew", as neither song has been played frequently since 2006. Likewise "Circles", which has rarely been heard on stage in a decade, and the equally infrequent "Say Somethin'".

But from the moment a stately curtain parted to connect Carey, 55, with her "lambs," her thigh-baring champagne-colored gown perfectly positioned and her honey-hued hair cascading onto her shoulders, it was apparent that Carey's decades of hits wouldn't be shunned.

As sliding platforms glided behind her, Carey dug into "Vision of Love", hitting her glass-shattering notes with seeming ease. A pack of male dancers slipped on and off the stage as Carey, tiptoeing in stilettos to get closer to fans bearing gifts, shimmied through "Make It Happen".

During a lush ballad combo - "Can't Let Go" and her searing cover of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" - Carey looked beatific as her chin quivered while again reaching for those skyscraper notes.

Most of the songs were reproduced in full, but it's too bad her rewarding take on "Without You", the aching ballad most associated with Harry Nilsson, was one of a few presented in shortened form. But from the peak syrup of "Hero" to the thumping beat of "Fantasy", Carey offered fans a gratifying overview of her own eras.

One of the most endearing traits about Carey is that while she enlists two of her dancers to carry the train of one of her beaded gowns as she arrives to sing "Circles" and grins while her makeup is retouched at the start of "Say Somethin'", it all unfolds with obvious self-deprecation.

Carey might be gussied up in high-end couture from designers including Gaurav Gupta and Robert Wun, but she's a Long Islander at heart, a down-to-earth entertainer with undiminished moxie and quick wit. ("My earring fell off. We're getting off to a wonderful start," she joked after a couple of songs at Wednesday's performance.)

She shared a story about Aretha Franklin tutoring her not to accept anyone "playing games" while rehearsing for the 1998 "Divas Live" concert and frequently attempted to sign swag - or, on this night, a forearm - for the zealous fans clustered at the front of the stage.

"I want to sign all of these things, but it's too haaaaard," Carey said with mock exasperation (in reality, she was a bit too far to safely lean into the crowd).

The luminous Carey positions herself as an untouchable diva and indeed, the show segment that featured her reclining on a blush velvet couch for the dramatic ballad "Looking In" furthered the expectation. But the maven of the "Lambily" that has supported her for decades isn't so much a prima donna, but an icon.

(USA Today)

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