My cousin Leah is an enormous Mariah Carey fan, so when it was announced that Mariah would take up a residency in Las Vegas, Leah was all over it. The day the tickets went on sale, Leah bought four. “For me, Ted, you, and Mike!” Mike was like, “LOL no,” so Leah’s bestie Aza took his place.
On the drive to Vegas, we gently teased Leah about her love for Mariah. She’d never seen her in concert, and was practically vibrating with excitement. We took bets on how many times Leah would cry.
For all of my teasing, I was looking forward to the concert. I was a big fan of Mariah’s back in the day. I owned her first two albums (on cassettes!) and knew just about all of her big hits. I also knew that a large portion of Mariah’s songs are slow, which meant the concert would be full of one of my favorite things to do now that I’m an Old Person: sit.
When we arrived at the venue, Leah’s eyes were glistening with tears and as you can see, I thought her enthusiasm was adorable and hilarious.
People posed under this sign in ways I cannot unsee.
We were in the third balcony, but our seats still had a great view:
And then Mariah came out. At that point, two things happened. The first is that Leah started crying:
“I can’t believe she’s right there!” Leah said.
The second thing is I realized I was sitting directly behind this person:
She. was. into. it. She constantly leapt to her feet, and she was about six feet tall, so the only time I could see the show is if I leaned around her, or stood up when she was sitting down.
Despite sitting behind Mariah’s Tallest Fan, I was still able to learn a few things about Mariah:
1) Mariah Carey can barely walk.
I’m pretty sure this is from a combo of her dresses being extraordinarily tight and her heels being incredibly high. She takes tiny baby steps all over the stage – that is, when she’s not sitting in a car or literally being carried around stage. Here is a picture of her shuffling around onstage:
I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.
2) Mariah Carey doesn’t place a lot of importance on memorizing lyrics.
Mariah sounded good. I’d heard rumors that she didn’t sing live, but she most definitely sang at our show. I also really liked hearing the songs from the early 90s that made me a fan. But, despite the fact that every song was shortened into a bite-sized version, she still seemed to not know all of the words. She’d either fill in with some of her famous melisma, or she’d let her back-up singers carry it. I definitely knew more words to her songs than she did. I’d compare her effort here to Britney’s dancing at her residency: still 1,000 times better than anything anyone else can do, but definitely not at the level that made them famous.
3) Mariah Carey can still hit the dog-whistle notes.
And she hits ’em a lot in this show, because the crowd goes bonkers. I was impressed that she still has such strong command of her whistle register, and it also made me remember back to when my grandma would hear Mariah hit those notes and she’d say, “Why can’t she just sing, why does she have to add in all this other stuff?” And then she’d tsk tsk and ask me to turn on the Cranberries or Hootie and the Blowfish (oh, the 90s).
4) Mariah Carey does not have a left eye.
I mean, here’s the proof:
She’s also apparently a mermaid, which could explain her walking problems.
In the battle of Post-Breakdown Pop Divas Who Now Have Vegas Residencies, I’d say Mariah and Britney are tied. Mariah interacts with the crowd spontaneously and sings live (point Mariah). Her stage show is a bit underwhelming by Vegas-standards (point Britney), although her backup singers are top-notch (I mean, Trey Lorenz is one of them!). It’s about 20 minutes longer than Britney’s show (point Mariah) but about five times more expensive (point Britney). The price we paid for floor tickets at Britney’s show only got us into the third balcony at Mariah.
In the end, I’m not sure who enjoyed the concert more: Leah, or Mariah’s Tallest Fan.
It’s a close one.