Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grace Jones - Live In Sydney

A couple of years ago I saw Grace Jones perform live for the first time. It was a revelation and remains one of the best concerts I have ever seen. Check out my review for a full round up. Since then, the legendary 62-year-old pop culture icon has pretty much stayed on the road. Her latest Australian tour is basically the same one she presented in 2009 - only with new costumes from famed Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka. Few artists could get away with rehashing the same show so soon after their last visit but this is Grace fucking Jones. And I would pay to watch her stuff envelopes. She is a living, breathing piece of modern history and still one of the most influential singers on the planet. No wonder Grace described Lady Gaga as a bore. She went there, did that and bought the t-shirt. In 1982. As such, I'm giving the legend a pass for last night's hugely enjoyable trainwreck of a concert.

The show kicked off after a great DJ set by Alex Taylor and the audience, largely comprised of MAGs and fag hags, went into a frenzy when the pre-recorded intro blasted over the PA. But then nothing happened. For about 10 minutes. The technical difficulties were eventually fixed and the curtain raised to the arresting sight of Grace singing "This Is Life" from under a satin sheet. It was a bit disconcerting not to see the star for an entire song but it was worth it when she emerged in a zebra outfit and white wig. Unfortunately Grace appeared to be higher than Whitney Houston and rambled incoherently about her new album "Hurricane", which she promised would be released soon. Someone really needs to tell her it hit stores in 2008. She then belted out a couple of tracks from that underrated gem but looked disorientated and demanded someone plug in a fan because she was "sweating like a racehorse". The diva then walked off stage for a very long time. To the point where some uncouth people actually started to boo.

It turned out to be a costume change and the bondage-tastic ensemble she returned to the stage in was stunning. She also seemed a lot more coherent and settled. She really nailed "William's Blood" and there was something eerily beautiful about "Devil In My Life". During the next extended costume change Grace told us about her legal woes in India where she was apparently held up on the suspicion of possessing cocaine. No comment. Her anecdotes ("I told them to keep the fucking luggage - but can I have my jewellery and music back?") were hilarious and she seemed genuinely happy to be in Sydney saying she'd like to live here. I think the legend's next career move should be reality TV or a talk show. I could listen to her gossip all night! The next segment was my favourite part of the concert. Grace emerged dressed as a giant rose and sang "Love You To Life" before breaking into "La Vie En Rose". She looked amazing shimmying across the stage in the breathtaking outfit and won back the audience when she turned around, revealing her exposed buttocks. Not bad for a 62-year-old!

If you think that's raunchy, you should have seen Grace's performance of "My Jamaican Guy" in a tiny mini-skirt and barely-there straps covering her breasts. It was truly a sight to behold. She followed that showstopping moment with "Corporate Cannibal" before delivering a disco-tastic version of "Well, Well, Well" in gravity defying sequined culottes. She then brought the crowd to their feet with an energetic performance of "Love Is The Drug". After yet another costume change, she was back on stage to perform "Libertango". I love the scary mannequin Grace danced with and was happy to hear something new added to the setlist. Next was an exact replica of the cape blowing "Hurricane" performance she closed the show with last time. It's still extremely effective but perhaps it's time for a change.

The grand finale of "Pull Up To The Bumper" and "Slave To The Rhythm" was perfection with the ageless beauty rocking the stage in an outfit that made her look like a young and pretty Nicki Minaj. Grace passed around the microphone to members of the audience and even flashed her tits. It was an awesome way to end a show that suffers from a stale setlist and extended costume changes. I love her new outfits but it's incredibly boring to wait 5 minutes between every second song. As a result the show lost momentum and seemed disjointed. Having said all that, Grace's ramblings were comedy gold and I'll be the first in line for her next visit. Maybe she just needs to record a couple of new songs first.

1 comment:

Diva Incarnate said...

Loved this review, Mike, you related well how easy it is for her to have a crowd melt in her hands and turn completely against her when she has her (*cough* "costume changes".

I didn't bother with the last album - I figure I'll have an afternoon to kill one day and go through her catalogue eventually.

La Vie En Rose is a stunning example of how underrated that voice is.

The reality show pitch is a vonderful idea.