Whitney Houston breathless and exhausted in Brisbane concert

February 24th, 2010 by

www.news.com.au – POP diva Whitney Houston has struggled through the opening night of her first Australian tour since 1988, raising questions about the remainder of the concert series.

The 46-year-old actress and singer got through two songs at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Monday night before appearing breathless and exhausted, taking a break and then carrying a towel with her for the next few songs.

After half a dozen songs, during some of which she coughed, she left the stage to take a break, bringing on her brother, Gary Houston, to sing.

The band and backing singers then performed an energetic version of Queen of the Night, from The Bodyguard soundtrack.

When she returned to the stage in a white pants suit, she settled down into a chair for a gravelly voiced acoustic version of some of her hits from the 1980s and 90s.

But the multi-award winning singer appeared disoriented and failed to properly name some of her backing band as she introduced them to the audience.

She paid tribute to a couple in the front of the audience who told her they had been married 39 years, and went to the side of the stage, where she serenaded her teenage daughter Bobbi.

Houston had the audience on its feet with an impromptu gospel-infused tribute to the late Michael Jackson, two of whose cancelled This is It tour dancers are in her entourage, singing The Way You Make Me Feel and Wanna Be Starting Something.

But the final act, a string of groove-laden dance numbers and ballads, faltered at the finale when she croaked her way through I Will Always Love You, pausing to get a drink and towel off just as she was about to hit the song’s epic high note, which she turned into a soft coo.

Houston has sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos, with her career soaring through the 1990s, but took a sharp dive as the shadow of an abusive relationship and drug addiction enveloped her life.

Her latest album is I Look To You.

The tour is scheduled to continue in Sydney, the Hunter Valley, Melbourne and Adelaide.

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