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Concert Review .....3/21/00 San Jose Arena
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Mariah Carey at San Jose Aena

{short description of image}..IF PROOF were needed that sex sells, Mariah Carey would be a Class A exhibit. Since shelving her sugary image for skintight clothes and raunchy videos, the 29-year-old New Yorker has sailed past Whitney Houston to become the world's most successful female recording artist. But despite Carey's having sold 125 million records worldwide, and being able to boast 14 number one singles and amassed a personal fortune said to be 200 million (a feat rivaled only by The Beatles), her charms are otherwise limited: to pabulum material, a set of dazzling teeth, obsessively-displayed cleavage and the worst fashion sense of a superstar, ever. Despite her fondness for bare flesh, Carey is an old-style, high-maintenance diva at heart. Her constant craving for attention may be tough on her 40-strong entourage, but it's great for the fans.

.....Her show at San Jose Arena - was a chance for Carey to show off in spectacular style for over two hours. The opening videotape, a little satire on the "competition" between Carey and an imaginary rival, Bianca, had testimonials on Carey's wonderfulness by everyone from Jerry Springer to Aretha Franklin and even Ozzy Osbourne. (The rivalry ended in a silly, violent un -funny boxing match skit.)

......Then with a loud crack of thunder, and what looked like a waterfall cascading from the stage against a pink sunset. Carey emerged from a trap door in the stage, wearing tight jeans (so '80s!) and a silver lame top that was barely draped across her chest, and left her back exposed, the skin-baring begins. Even Carey looked worried. "This is a new outfit," she explained. "It's precarious. I have to be very careful." It continued through half a dozen costume changes, which were accompanied by frenzied moves by a fleet of dancers (Carey herself doesn't dance), videotapes and skits. She brought her little dog Jack on stage to do a trick, that failed, and preseeded to tell a pass story when he messed on stage.There was a fake Miss World contest, Much to the delight of the audience . She was visited on stage by her stylist, whom she called on to re-tie the strings holding her top together; by her makeup artist, who dabbed the perspiration from her brow, and from her hair man, who spiffed up her sagging 'do.

..... Backed by three video screens, four soul singers and a funky, five-piece band, Carey launched into her uptempo hit Emotions, followed by the ballad My All from her album Butterfly. The sound was crystal clear and her multi-octave voice in fine form. Whenever she hit a high note, the audience cheered. Teddy bears were thrown on stage and, if she took time out to talk, there were screams of "I love you". More a lavish cabaret than a concert, no expense was spared on props: suspended cages, plinths that rose up and down, a tableful of food and even a double bed, on which Carey performed her new single, Thank God I Found You. Carey's belting of power ballads. She mixed material from her recent hip-hop-flavored album, ``Rainbow,'' with a judicious selection of her record-setting collection of No. 1 hits. She decorated the songs with stinging shrieks and strange little high-pitched blasts that sounded like whistles. She fell on her knees for the final chorus of ``Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)'' and poured out teardrops on ``Petals,'' . In all her devoted fans would cheered her on for anything she did on stage. I like the real music, with no gimmicks.

By Randy Cohen

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Cartoon of Bianca and Carey