By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney
During her recuperation from chemotherapy, Kylie Minogue authored a children's book - The Showgirl Princess.
The singer performed hits such as Shocked and On A Night Like This
The story was a true fairy tale, as she put it, full of glitter, glamour and dreams. She could well have been describing her comeback concert.
Sentiment, lavish stagecraft, extraordinary headgear and, most tantalisingly of all, a hint of danger.
Would Kylie be able to cope with the pressure? Would she be overcome with emotion? Would the diminutive songstress be overwhelmed by the weight of her feathered tiara?
The opening had the feel not just of a comeback but of the second coming - with Kylie rising slowly from a trap-door in the stage.
For a moment, she was statuesque, as she soaked in the applause of her doting fans, some of whom seemed completely mesmerised to be watching her in the flesh. Then came that trademark smile.
Some fans had bought tickets for this concert almost two years ago, and keeping hold of them was an act of faith.
In the dark days last May, when the 38-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer, some feared they might never get to use them. Others felt there was always likely to be a spotlight at the end of the tunnel.
Short and simple
Looking resplendent in a stunning pink costume designed by John Galliano, Kylie kicked off with her classic single Better The Devil You Know. Next came In Your Eyes.
The singer paused to drink water in between songs
As the applause died down, she actually spoke.
"Good evening Sydney!" she ventured. "How are you feeling tonight?" Then it was straight back to the music.
This is the age of the sermonizing rock star, but Kylie has always kept things short, snappy and simple.
Deep and meaningful she is not. But perhaps that explains some of her appeal. People project themselves onto Kylie, rather than the other way round.
By this stage of the concert, of course, it had become patently clear that the Melbourne-born singer was feeling just fine herself.
The only outward signs of her chemotherapy were her shorter-than-normal hair, which was largely obscured by feathers, and taking a sip of water from a glass between songs.
Rags to riches
Australians love her story: the girl-next-door who escaped the cul-de-sac of an Ozzie soap to make it big abroad.
Kylie told fans she was "thrilled to be back"
But her battle with cancer has made her a more substantial figure. She has shown grit and resilience, qualities which the Australians hold dear.
For many, her illness has given her extra credibility. The girl-next-door has become a woman.
At times, the comeback felt like a carnival, full of sequins, shocking pink feather boas, "Kyliscious" t-shirts and pink cowboy hats.
But the celebratory mood was probably just the tonic she needed.
This time last year, Minogue was undergoing the nightmare of chemotherapy, an ordeal she likened to experiencing a nuclear bomb.
Tonight, she lived out a fairytale. With plumed pomp and musical majesty, the Princess of Pop is back.