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"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Grace Jones : Up Close and Orchestral "She was a star the whole night through. A brilliant star. A brilliant shining star" @gracejones @gracejonesofficial @southbankcentre #MeltdownFest Review —>

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see the star that is Grace Jones burn brightly on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall on London's glitzy South Bank. With a full orchestra, she was simply dazzling.

There to open her own curated Meltdown, and a rather tame 75 minutes late (she has been 3 hours late before), Ms Jones appeared at the top a staircase dressed in black suit and bathed in a deeper shade of blue. The audience gave her a rapturous reception. As she belted out the first words of Nightclubbing the place went positively wild.

Over the next hour and fifty minutes she plundered much of her back catalogue, and some new songs to boot. We were on our feet for pretty much the entire show.

Every song welcomed a change of lighting, a change of costume, or a change of Philip Treacy hat. It was a bit like a West End show where, "tonight the role of the diva will be played by Miss Grace Jones."

She commanded the stage and strutted about like she owned in.

She was exceptionally well behaved throughout though. None of the tantrums we've seen over the years*. Although towards the end she was perhaps a little over-excited and rather muddled the words of some of the tracks. "I've not done my homework", she coyly confessed to the cheering crowd. We didn't care. We can forgive here that and much else besides. She was a star the whole night through. A brilliant star. A brilliant shining star.

The most dramatic bit: Hurricane. She sang it facing across the stage into a hurricane fan with full-on special effects, lighting, debris and flowing costume blown horizontal by the wind. Marvellous.

The best bit: Hula-hooping all but bear-chested to Slave To The Rhythm

By 10:30pm she had to finish(?) but got us to join in with Pull Up to the Bumper acapella as she left the stage.

A top night.

Setlist

Nightclubbing [Iggy Pop cover]
Walking in the Rain [Flash and the Pan cover]
Born Black [New song]
My Jamaican Guy
I've Done It Again
Demolition Man
War No More [New song]
Love Is the Drug [Roxy Music cover]
I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)
Williams' Blood
Amazing Grace [John Newton cover]
Slave to the Rhythm [with band introductions]
Hurricane
Pull Up to the Bumper [Acapella]

(Sadly, no La Vie En Rose on this occasion)

*Back in 2008 at the Electric Picnic in Ireland we'd seen Grace Jones do a set. She had turned up 25 mins late - not too bad as we came to discover in the later years - but the crowd was a little restless. When she had finished her set and left the stage we didn't immediately cheer for an encore. Off stage and over the microphone she raged and told us all "to fucking fuck off". Love her.


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