Don’t think i’ve seen PJ since the Troxy show from back in 2011, so looking forward to this one. Couldn’t believe it, when on the train, my old mate Andy & his missus Nina, were sat along side me! We had a good old catch up. Unfortunately, the train got delayed & it looked like we’d miss our connection in Grantham (7mins to switch). As we came into Grantham, running along another line was the train we needed (it too had been delayed). We knew it would be close as had to go up steps & over to other platform. Literally, as we got on other platform, they shut the doors! Queue loads of angry folks ! This meant we had to wait another hour for next connection. I’d previously arranged to meet Rob & Kristina & told them of delay. We met up in KingsX then went to The Joint in Brixton for food (Another great little place that Rob found). Afterwards, Kristina kindly took my bag back to Robs place whilst we went to venue. The queue was small compared to previous times. Not that it mattered as i was using the “Disabled+companion ticket” option. Due to a small cock up, we were slowed down on entry,but still managed front row seats in balcony. Unfortunately, there was no support act so it was a long wait before PJ came on. Had to make use of the O2 offer of 2 for 1 drinks 🙂 This new PJ show is totally different to previous ones. It’s a “big” show with about 10 musicians on stage. I’m usually on the front row of the stalls,but this time, it’s front row of balcony. It’s pretty cool from this viewpoint actually as can take in the expanse of the show. It eventually (no support act tonight) starts with all the musicians slowly walking onto stage whilst playing “Chain Of Keys”. It’s almost like a funeral march as they snake around the stage to their respective positions. Afterwards, PJ holds her saxophone aloft as she moves to the front of the stage & they then go into “The Ministry Of Defense”. The “backdrop” is a bit strange. It just looks like a bunch of blocks & kind of reminds me of Penrose stairs. (But i doubt that was what they were intending to project). Tonights show is dominated by selections from “The Hope Six Demolition Project”. But we also get cursory glances to “White Chalk” & “Is This Desire”. There were some great moments tonight. I loved the version of “The Words That Maketh Murder”. The hand claps from the guys onstage & their singing in unison was very cool. Loved it when PJ sang the line ” What if i take my problem to the United Nations?” whilst seemingly asking this question to the guys up there & flitting between who she directed it to & getting no response. ( Am i over analyzing it? Or have i already become totally engrossed in tonights performance? 😉 )
Towards the end of the set we got some of the old classics like ” 50ft Queenie” , “Down By The Water” & “To Bring You My Love”. With all the musicians up there, the songs sounded quite different. For instance, during “50ft Queenie” it sounded like a “scream” at one point where the saxophone was played. As is always the case, it’s this song where PJ is the most animated.
“Down By The Water” is started by a single violin. We had no idea what would be played tbh. But once PJ sang the immortal line ” I lost my Heart..” we twigged on & there was rapturous applause. Loved the “swimming” movements from her on that one.
Next up it’s ” To Bring You My Love” & the main set is then finished with ” River Anacostia “. During “River Anacostia”, the various musicians joined PJ at the front singing along acapella. Quite a magical moment.
The encore is an old favourite; a cover of Dylans ” Highway 61 Revisited “.
Tonights show was a BIG show. Could go as far as saying it’s theatrical even. Whilst PJ in the past has never had much interaction between her & the crowd, tonight it’s even less. Just the occasional “Thank You” is all we get. It certainly makes you focus on the music/show. What i still find amazing about Miss Polly Jean Harvey, after all these years, she is still a unique artiste.