Marc Almond at the Almeida...
Last night I and a large contingent of the Marc Almond super-groupies (Hanko, Darius, Gary + b/f, Michael +b/f, Katia + Belgian, Ben etc etc) all went to see Marc Almond at the Almeida Theatre in Islington. I know some of you will be seeing him later in the week so I'll not give too much away about the content but just describe my impressions of the show.
Let me start by saying it was a cracking night. Did I say 'cracking'? I meant marvelous, remarkable, spectacular, striking, stupendous, superb, terrific and wondrous. But I would say that. I'm a fan.
Marc's new-found ability to hold a show together was ably demonstrated by the fact he wasn't put off by some of the more pesky flash photography, the audience singing along and clapping or the odd mistimed cough by the front row. "You'll be pleased to hear I won't be attacking or insulting you tonight. I'm through my bitter and cynical phase". And it showed.
His voice was in fine fettle too and he only hit the odd bum note. He was wearing his dark suit and white shirt - all very formal - something that matched the tone of the night really. His stage presence and movements were... er... OK - while still not exactly dancing he certainly has got his arm waving under control and let's face it, his dramatic poses could shatter glass.
Mind you, the show did look a little unrehearsed at times - missed lighting cues, parts of the stage too dark so Marc just couldn't be seen and lights being dimmed, turned up and dimmed again as if it was a dress rehearsal (come on, fess up Marc, did you actually have a dress rehearsal?) The sound was a little odd too - occasional incorrect echo so he was singing over himself, the band up too loud and Marc's mike had too much cut-off so he was either very loud or virtually inaudible. The encore(s) at the end were sloppy too. At the end they didn't actually leave the stage but just stumbled around shrugging their shoulders looking lost. So when the end did come in fact they were off never to return. We'd had our two encores and not realised it.
I will just briefly touch on the content without giving too much away. For me the first half was much better than the second half. It was a nice mix of old and new - besides, I love all that Russian stuff. The second half was weaker due to too many cover versions and too little change of tempo. The jazz classics were fine (yes, you read that right, Marc has found jazz) but I was conscious of all the songs he was leaving out to squeeze in the odd Nina Simone song. That said, I quite like Marc The Jazz Singer (thank God it wasn't Marc The Lounge Singer!) but, as Ben pointed out, if he wants to play Las Vegas (which he maintains he does) then last night was his Las Vegas showreel.
OK now I have the track listing for the gig I just can't not post it! So as not to spoil it I've hidden the text as white though, so if you want to see it you need to drag your mouse across the blank looking area below.
UPDATE: the show's are over now so all can be revealed
So Long The Path
Always And Everywhere
Nuit De Noel
The Glance Of Your Dark Eyes
Heart On Snow
Lonely Go-Go Dancer
Tenderness Is A Weakness
Rouge And Perfume
In The Port Of Amsterdam
Catch a Fallen Star
A Lover Spurned
Hustler's Tango (Lewis Furley cover)
Lotus Blossom (Johnnie Ray cover)
I Cover The Waterfront (Mel Torme cover)
In The Dark (Nina Simone cover)
What Makes A Man A Man
Go To Hell (Nina Simone cover)
When Bad People Kiss
End In Tears
Strangers In The Night