Monday, January 12, 2009

Old, new, borrowed... and very very blue: Grace Jones at the Enmore Theatre

Grace Jones at the Enmore Theatre, 130 Enmore Road, Newtown. Sunday January 11, 2009. Part of the Sydney Festival. Also January 13 & 14 at 9 pm sharp.

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...

01. Nightclubbing
02. This Is
03. My Jamaican Guy
04. I'm Crying (Mother's Tears)
05. Libertango
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
03. Hurricane

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

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Blogger richardwatts said...

Any truth in the rumour I've heard that the H-S won't run your review of JERKER because the play's title is 'offensive to their readers'?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Chris Boyd said...

Nah, no truth. While it would have been a challenge writing about Jerker in a family newspaper (heh) -- it ain't A.R. Gurney... actually, it isn't even The Normal Heart -- if it had rocked my world, we would have found space for it.

I thought the play was a lot more interesting than the production. You liked?

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Herald Sun's sister paper, the Tele in Sydney, had no problem publishing this story under the delightful heading Stiff sentence for masturbating driver. A cautionary tale indeed!

4:53 PM  

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