Chicago Sun-Times writes:
Mariah Carey's globetrotting "Adventures of Mimi" tour arrived at the United Center on Monday night with the glitz of a top-dollar Las Vegas spectacle.
The split-level stage was smartly decorated with an oversized staircase and butterfly railing, along with tiered platform risers for the musicians and a star-spangled velvet backdrop. Following a filmed montage which described Carey's true-life adventures as a roller coaster, Carey entered in a matching black silk cape and bikini, determined to prove that glamor wasn't confined to the set decorations.
The show featured four segments in total, each punctuated by new costumes, and at least two of Carey's seventeen Billboard Hot 100 chart toppers.
Carey began with "It's Like That," a declaration of personal renewal from 2005's comeback effort, "The Emancipation of Mimi." "Heartbreaker," a No. 1 single from 1999's "Rainbow" album, followed. With the album version's overlapping vocals dialed back, a song emerged exhibiting similarity to Tom Tom Club's 1981 dance hit "Genius of Love" (itself the basis of "Fantasy" from Carey's 1995 "Daydream" CD).
Though noted for sheer vocal strength, Carey restrained her prowess for the intimate and lovesick "My All," the first act's most affecting performance. During "Shake It Off," Carey's nickname, Mimi, descended from the rafters in enormous, brightly lit letters, a la Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special.
Following an intermission overseen by DJ Clue, Carey returned in a sequined yellow gown to sing her 1990 debut single "Vision of Love." Sixteen years later, the song remains a showcase for Carey's range as a pop-soul belter, with minimal emphasis on vocal gymnastics (at least until the song's coda). Carey's flamboyant skills were unleashed during songs like the glass-shattering gospel chorus of "Fly Like a Bird." Enormous cheers erupted anytime Carey approached her stratospheric high notes. Longtime backup singer Trey Lorenz joined Carey for a duet on the Jackson Five's 1970 hit "I'll Be There," a partnership featured on 1992's "MTV Unplugged" album.
Carey's embrace was recognized and reciprocated last Thursday in Atlanta, as she claimed five honors at Billboard's 2006 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, including best overall artist.
The set concluded as Carey remembered the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. "One Sweet Day" offered the promise of loved ones reunited in the hereafter. "Hero" was dedicated to those who saved lives or perished during attempts to help as the World Trade Center fell. Despite the grim topic, the memorial seemed a genuine expression of community, and appropriate to the occasion.