Word up all entertainers, both rising and already supernovas: The bluntest way to hit your audience between the eyes and ears is to treat them with sophistication, honesty and satiated. And still wanting more.
Grace Jones delivered all of that Sunday night al fresco at the Hollywood Bowl, her first L.A. performance in two decades. She never abandoned her fans for a moment, including during the half dozen costume changes, chatting to them in that luscious contralto voice even off stage.
Those looks are the collaborative results between Miss Jones and Eiko Ishioka, a costume and stage designer whose many credits include a Tony for M. Butterfly, a Grammy for Miles Davis' "Tutu" cover, an Oscar for Bram Stoker's Dracula, the Beijing Olympics and Cirque du Soleil's "Varekai." The pair have conspired for years, and the effects had the audience gasping in glee with each new costume, each new mask.
Of the outrageously inspired headgear (because, really, "hats" doesn't fully describe them), she offered up props to Philip Treacy.
Admittedly, one of the highlights for yours truly was her rendering of "La Vie en Rose," and the carmine confection she appeared in only doubled the pleasure.
At half time, when most performers would send out a hackneyed act of dancers to fill the time, the black and white vid "Corporate Cannibal" aired. Sure, much of the crowd had already hit play on YouTube dozens of times before the concert. But the Nick Hooker-directed short deserved a grand screen, and the singer's electronically distorted image was all the more diabolical and stunning on it.
Nothing was more astonishing, though, than the flesh and blood artist. Now 61 and a grandmum to her son's infant daughter, Athena, Jones' revealed she is still the superhuman that has mesmerized fans. Proof was in the alien showgirl ensemble (top photo). And in the red number for "La Vie en Rose," the copious ruffles and rolls of the gown made all the more pronounced by the backside–completely stripped of a shred of fabric, save for the cord of her thong.
Her son Paoulo's band, Trybez, along with a few additional musicians and a couple of soulful back-up singers supported the set, a mix of fan-pleasing GJ standards such as "Love is the Drug," along with tracks off her latest album, "Hurricane." Aside from the sartorial theatrics, the colored lights and four fans to blast a mile of silky black skirt across the stage, the show was about the artist, her music, her dress and her charm. "I just perform 100%, I don't know how to cheat, I don't know how to hold back," she declared in an interview this weekend.
Likewise, for your devotees, resistance is futile.
[This Just In: Leopold Ross, handsome other half of IO Echo and darling/former A+R gal Joanna Gikis was on guitar. Thanks for the tip JG.]
p.s. Apologies for the blurred images. But figured something was better than nothing. After all, like the icon herself, they defy mere words.
Grace Jones set list:
“This Is Life”
“My Jamaican Guy”
“La Vie En Rose”
“Love Is the Drug”
“Devil in My Life”
“I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango)”
“Pull Up to the Bumper”
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