Saturday, January 30, 2010

Marianne Faithfull - Tivoli 30-01-10

I know, she's not Australian but I can't help blogging
on a superb concert. I've seen Marianne twice before,
the first time was as part of the Brisbane Biennial and
she performed Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weil's
Three Penny Opera. The second was her 20th Century
Blues tour. Don't get me wrong they were great shows but
she didn't have a full band or perform the songs that made
her, tonight was different.

This her "Easy Come Easy Go" tour, while focusing on the new
album of the same name, had both a full band and songs spanning
her entire career.
The band was a fantastic 7 piece band which effortlessly played
with tremendous talent and moved through various styles of
music gracefully.

I've been a long time fan from when I heard Broken English, back
when I was something like 16. I've followed her fascinating career
ever since, so to see these songs performed was a long held ambition.
Judging by the age of the audience I'd say some discovered her back
when she started, the year I was born.
From the opening song "Times Square" it was a fantastic evening,
we heard the Classics like, Lucy Jorden, Broken English, Why didya
Do it, As tears go by, Strange weather and Sister Morphine.
As well as plenty of "newer" ones like Crazy love, Solitude, Hold on,
Kimbe, Sing me, Dover, The Crane wife and Easy come easy go.

Check out the comments to see how Mr K found the show.

Now I just need to see Tom Waits to die happy.

Marianne faithfull " Sister Morphine " @ Cité de la Musique Paris June 18th 2009


Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,
Well I gotta say I was a little disappointed with some aspects of the performance.

Agreed ... the band were terrific ... the sound excellent, her voice so very strong (amazing!!) : it was mainly just some of the arrangements and Marianne's reading of some songs that I really felt were not up to my expectations of such a seasoned performer such as herself.

Like yourself I've also seen her twice before and the drama, the theatre and stagecraft she put behind and demonstrated so wonderfully within those performances was really missing in this band context. It was overall very "light" much to the detriment of some of her most iconic and startling compositions.

There were moments when this sense of "ownership" of the song - communication of the character or meaning/sense came through - "Sister Morphine" almost nailed it for me - kicking into "Times Square" was a delight and I thought for a minute - "oh this is going to be a wonderful night - something really special" - shame that it didn't happen for me.

"Broken English" had the sustained control and in your face delivery that is at the heart of that song - an opportunity sorely missed in the light reading of "Solitude" - a rather characterless delivery - missing for me the pathos inherent in that song - where was that element of *performance* that she's so brilliant at conveying!!?? Likewise, the arrangement of "Ballad of Lucy Jordan" and its delivery I felt was flat line / no dynamics / very little light and shade in instrumentation and within her delivery.

Before going into the theatre I said to my sister who came along, that if she did "Why'd Ya Do It?", one of her most potent and dramatic compositions imo, then my night would be made. Oh dear ... the disappointment again. What an almost jokey performance of such a great lyric!

You know, I think Marianne summed it up - my feelings as I've been typing here - when she came back on stage after performing "Why'd Ya Do It?" and explained that when she wrote and first recorded that song that she *was* going through all that shit ... and as the years have passed, so have those feelings. Under my breath I said to myself "well, why did do you it tonight?" What could been an interpretative tour de force was dashed with the lack of conviction behind its performance last night.

"Strange Weather" I thought was stunning, focused and measured where finally another glimpse of her very fine "performance" chops shone through. Oh if only there was more of that.

I'm glad to finally have had the experience of seeing her deliver some of these songs and with such a great band ... but I'm not entirely convinced that the Marianne Faithfull in this iteration/covers band singer is one that does her enormous and unique talent as interpreter/performer any justice live.


ps ... I looked around for awhile to spot you, but yes, full house and and not a bob to be seen!

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Hi Ken thanks for that I enjoyed reading you musings, I would agree in your reading of things esp on Why didya do it. It wasnt a highlight, she has lost the fire, I guess you would after all these years. This very very angry song was no long angry at all, I suppose she does it because its expected.
She also missed a couple of lines here and there, stumbled on occassion and needed a lyric book beside her.
I guess all those years and drugs have taken there toll. Anytime Ive seen her I would have to say she isnt the most active performer, still Bob Dylan isnt ether.
I can overlook these things because she is still a legend in my mind.
She also didnt talk a lot between songs which is a shame cause she can be so bloody funny.
The other problem was she has so many other songs I would have loved to hear but She can't do em all I guees.
Still I'll go back for another tour if/when she returns.

PS I was seated behind the mixing desk, I was on the look out for ya but Im sure we will cacth up soon enough

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Marianne didn't make it to Adelaide this time, even though she's sung to capacity houses on past visits. So I went to Melbourne to see her. Having seen her a half a dozen times, I must admit to being a little less taken with her this time around. She started off shakily though did present strong versions of the Randy Newman and Ellington tracks. In fact Solitude was stronger than the recorded version and on pitch. At the concert I went to see she had some lyric omissions and would talk to the audience and then not listen to their replies. She can be a bit school ma'amish yet somewhat endearing. I'm afraid that I don't think her heart was in it to the extent it has been in the past. She needs that anger and fire in the belly. You Queenslanders were lucky to have had her for the Biennale, however she performed Weill's Seven Deadly Sins and not The Threepenny Opera. Congratulations on your preceptive reviews and comments.