Mariah's residency is a retrospective, and a gift to fans |

Thursday 25 April 2024

Mariah's residency is a retrospective, and a gift to fans

"I've already lost an earring," said Mariah Carey, two songs into a Wednesday night performance of her new residency, The Celebration of Mimi, at Park MGM's Dolby Live theater. Grinning, she shrugged it off, noting that she had "plenty of other adornments".

That she does, though not all of them are jewelry or gowns dripping with Swarovski crystal. The Celebration of Mimi, running through April 27 with additional dates in July and August, is a treasure box of hits - a career retrospective and sort of living autobiography whose every other chapter happens to be an immortal, chart-topping hit. She reels them off with the backing of a small but powerful band, a trio of backing singers and a phalanx of male dancers - but truly, she could have taken the stage in sweatpants, with no backing at all, and still held the room. Her personality is just that engaging, her instrument that powerful, and the hits that durable.

Real talk for a sec: I've never been a fan of Mariah Carey's music, for reasons entirely my own. But I've an enormous, unconditional respect for the singer/songwriter's journey. She skillfully anticipated many pop trends, survived the worst abuse the music industry can dish out and has stayed in peak voice for three decades. The Celebration of Mimi, which includes inspirational passages narrated by Carey and video of her early years, touches on all these aspects of her life and career, but its narrative adornments are wholly in service to her dynamic singing.

No one, fan or not, can watch Carey sing without thinking, well, damn. And the first five songs of her set - "Vision of Love", "Emotions", "Make it Happen", "I'll Be There" (a charismatic duet with Trey Lorenz) and "Dreamlover" - come off like a fireworks display. Even now, at age, Carey's melismas are flawless, and she can still fully navigate the extremes of her multiple-octave-range; she ascends into her "whistle" register with minimal effort.

Put another way: As Stereogum writer Tom Breihan recently wrote, admiringly, "All throughout her career, critics like me have discussed Mariah Carey less as an artist and more as an athlete." In The Celebration of Mimi, she leaves it all on the field.

Taken purely as a Vegas spectacle, however, your experience with Mimi will prove relative to your level of fandom. The setpieces are modest and largely absent of the eye-popping special effects that have distinguished recent residencies by Katy Perry, Adele and U2. (And I might be mistaken, but I didn't hear the word "Vegas" spoken even once.)

But she didn't need an immersive screen or indoor rainstorm to win the night. Carey's audience is locked in. There were plenty of wow moments in simply watching Carey interact with her superfans, her "lambs", who didn't so much vibe to her songs as relive the happy times when they fell in love with them - when they made her music part of who they are. One fan even asked for Carey to autograph his arm so that he could get it tattooed. Without missing a note, she obliged. A permanent adornment from her own collection, benevolently given.

(Las Vegas Weekly)

Tony Lorenzo from UK wrote:
A wonderful review for our queen. Mariah, if you're reading this, we are begging for another album. You aint finished yet. We love retrospectiveriah, but you've got much more new music in you. As the soundtrack to our lives, we need more. Perhaps an album of jazz covers with a few original tracks? That'd be wow.
(Thursday 25 April 2024; 22:53)

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