Sunday, 22 June 2008

A view to kill for

Grace Jones @ The Royal Festival Hall, London, Thursday 19th June 2008
Ordinarily, if a sixty year old woman shakes her bare bum cheeks at you, there'd be little enjoyment in it. But not if that woman is Grace Jones. And certainly not when the arse itself is attached to the gravity-defying legs that anyone, gay or straight, cannot fail to be amazed by. Grace Jones, the enigma in a Dr Zeuss hat with a snarling prowl to her gait is what I knew to expect. What I didn't expect was Grace Jones the stellar performer with a witty and warm banter. The stage at the Royal Festival Hall isn't small. It has to fit an orchestra on there. But she owned it and made every use of the theatrical set-up, including the massive wind tunnel-sized fan which gave every outfit the kind of drama Diana Ross can only dream of.

Rolling through a throbbing Nightclubbing and Private Life she had the audience from the start. Everyone was dancing. My Jamaican Guy, one of my favourites, was played brilliantly by the band, but it was too slow for the adrenalin-pumped Grace as she ordered them to speed up. From the new songs Love You To Life was the stand out. Perhaps it had a lot to do with the theatre of the performance: raised up on a hydraulic platform against a live, black and white video while the wind machine (again) was blowing her silver-flaked headgear. From what I remember, though, the new songs I heard will make a great set on their own and are to appear on an album due in September produced by her current beau, Ivor Guest, a Viscount, no less.

The headgear switched and changed throughout, like this alien big bird nonsense above, but my favourite was the black up-ended bowl thing covering her eyes. Could she see through it? Was it the best looking pair (?) of sunglasses ever? And the mirror ball bowler she wore for Love is the Drug had a purpose, of course: to bounce green lasers out onto the audience. But the fact that she spent most of the show with her best assets (ie; the legs) on show was an indication of bloody proud she must be of them! During a defiant version of La Vie En Rose, every syllable of the song's title became a gouging step as she strode up and down the stage in killer heels.

An uproarious end was on the cards from the beginning. She pulled up most of the first three rows onto stage with a party-like Pull Up to the Bumper whilst everyone else wished they were up there with her. For Warm Leatherette, she had the crowd sing the "warm" bit while she replied with a louder "leatherette" only to shout after the first few, "Sing up! Motherfuckers!". She came back for an encore with a gloriously majestic Slave to the Rhythm and then she was gone, leaving nothing behind but glitter tickertape and a sweat-drenched happy audience.


Michael said...

So, are you the luckiest f&*ker or what? I am SO jealous that you got to see her. It sounds like it was brilliant - thanks for the review.

I'm hoping she puts some time in to touring the US - then maybe I will get a chance to be a lucky f@#ker too!

Adem With An E said...

Fucking Hell. Brilliant review; as was the Yazoo one which I just finished reading!

She's coming to Australia you know, the sexy Grace? Apparently one city for one show only; I'll go wherever in the country I need to.

If I get to see Grace, it will almost (almost) make up for Madonna not coming here.

stupidboy said...

I was at the show too and really liked it!

Phil said...

Michael, Adem, if she tours your various homelands you have got to promise me you will buy a ticket. You won't regret it. One of the best live shows I've seen. Period.