Mid-20s Malaise

Struggling against the inevitable since 1986!

Grace Jones

The other week, I won tickets to go and see Grace Jones. Woo hoo! I’d been thinking of going, but the $150 tickets were a bit of a turn-off.

I’d seen her a few years previously, performing at the Sydney Festival First Night. (For non-Sydney readers, the First Night is the opening night of the Sydney Festival, the city’s biggest arts and theatre event. A lot of the artists perform for free in the city’s thoroughfares and parks – Martin Place, Hyde Park, the Governor’s Domain – and it turns into a big street party!) She was wonderful and, as a friend pointed out, danced just like me – all limbs and wild enthusiasm. Her core costume consisted of high heels, fishnet stockings, a black corset and a black g-string! To that, she added sculptural hats, billowing capes and other costumes to dramatise each song, and went up and down and around on a hydraulic stage.

The hydraulics were missed at the Enmore Theatre last Tuesday, and she completely changed outfits several times. This meant longer changes, but more dramatic costumes. Below is one of my favourites. She sang one song (Sunrise Sunset) while wearing it and sitting on a stool, a spotlight on just her face. Then she got up and swayed in it while she sang La Vie En Rose. Towards the end, she began spinning, revealing the fact that the dress was just strapped to her front: her back and buttocks were bare, and she looked amazing for 62!

Other costumes included: a tribal-print bodysuit with a butt-length white headdress; a black-and-red PVC catsuit with a dozen whips attached to it; a beaded skirt in the colours of the Jamaican flag (which also showed off her butt as she flicked it around); a black-and-gold skull mask; diamante-studded disco pants and a matching hat that acted like a disco ball when hit by a laser.

It was a really creative production. Not all of the experiments worked, but I liked the way she played around with the conventions of a stage show. For example, she had a video screen, but for one song, she danced behind it like a wayang kulit (Indonesian shadow puppet). The theatricality was often broken, though, when she’d continue chatting to us as she was off-stage, changing. And goodness me, she was all kinds of crazy, and full of who-knows-what substances. Lonh, meandering stories, told in her deep accented voice and punctuated with belly laughs. It felt a bit like a drunk aunt having a conspiratorial chat at Christmastime.

Anyway, great show. Below is the video clip for Williams’ Blood, one of my favourite tracks from her latest album, Hurricane. It’s made up of footage from the tour, which gives you a bit of an idea of the craziness.

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Filed under: music

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