Old, new, borrowed... and very very blue: Grace Jones at the Enmore Theatre
On Saturday night, Grace Jones performed in the Domain to a massive audience in a free concert, part of the first night of the 2009 Sydney Festival which reportedly attracted 300,000 people to the CBD. It was her first concert in Sydney for 20-odd years.
Tonight, though, was an indoor show in front of the faithful. The adoring. The curious. And the set was twice as long as her performance in the Domain. (There are two more dates at the Enmore, Tuesday and Wednesday, then she's back to London.)
Jones promised plenty of emotion when I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago. She even expected some tears, singing her new and very personal songs about her family. (These are the first time she has performed the songs since her father died.)
What we got was hard core, brilliant, powercamp. Great fun. The show proved beyond reasonable doubt that 'Pull Up To My Bumper' is not about driving. Unless you mean driving home. Through back streets...
Grace, incidentally, looks amazing. Thong, corset, outrageous hats... and a mirrorball bowler hat... Man!
Aside from some pre-recorded or sampled backing vocals, she sang live and sang well. Her voice is deep and clear with that ambiguous accent of hers. But she's not the menacing presence of old. (That's an observation, not a criticism!) She's no longer a strange visitor from another planet. She's human, substantial, even (dare I say it) warm!
Between songs (she changed hats and/or outfits after each) she kept the banter going including, memorably, a cracking "Bring me my fucking whip!"
Her backing band had a drummer, a percussionist (her son Paulo), two keyboard players, bass and guitar. An accordionist materialised for 'La Vie en rose'.
The set began with Grace perched atop a cherry picker (heh!) growling "Night clubbing, night clubbing..." Before lowering herself down to our level. More or less.
She backed up with the first song on the new album. It begins: "This is my voice, my weapon of choice." And we were indeed smitten. Six of the fourteen songs came from Hurricane, the newie, and they sat seamlessly with the greatest hits. Actually, a couple of them were highlights of the concert.
'Love is the Drug' -- with the mirrorball bowler hat and two slashing sprays of green laser light -- was (literally) the most dazzling set piece of the night. It had the floor of the theatre rippling with the thunder of the bass and the dancing.
After the jump, the set list and European tour dates...
02. This Is
03. My Jamaican Guy
04. I'm Crying (Mother's Tears)
06. Love You To Life
07. La Vie en rose
08. Well Well Well
09. Williams Blood
10. Love Is The Drug
11. Slave to the Rhythm
01. Warm Leatherette
02. Pull Up To My Bumper
Grace Jones: 2009 Tour Dates
Monday January 19, Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Wednesday January 21, The Sage, Gateshead
Thursday January 22, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
Saturday January 24 Manchester Apollo
Sunday January 25, Colston Hall, Bristol
Tuesday January 27, The Roundhouse, London
Wednesday January 28, The Roundhouse, London
Friday January 30, The Roundhouse, London
Monday March 16, Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
Tuesday March 17, Tempodrom, Berlin
Thursday March 19, Paradiso, Amsterdam
Sunday March 22, Le Grand Rex, Paris
Wednesday March 25, Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt am Main
Thursday March 26, Philipshalle, Düsseldorf
Saturday March 28, Cirkus, Stockholm