Philadelphia, US (5.9.2008)
vocals: Tricky, Veronika, Rodigan
Here's a review from Terri:
First, I was not impressed by Telepathique. They just weren't my thing but... it seemed they were really into their show at least. The lead singer kept running off stage (probably to bang out another line of coke or something.) I guess if you're into that kind of music, it would have been alright. Like I said though, not my thing. We only saw half of the set because we got there a little late.
I checked out the crowd and it didn't seem that there were very many "hardcore" fans there. Well, there was one. She jumped up and down a lot and seemed really excited to be there. :) I bought a t-shirt (I'll send in a picture later- it's Tricky at a microphone in front of a red anarchy sign with "Tricky" in Western style writing) and the woman commented how I was the first/only person. I'm adding it to my collection, so now I have four Tricky shirts. :P (I'm going to see if I can get a decent picture of it for you later.)
"In The Air Tonight" really seemed to be the opener. No one was on stage, but there was just something different about the way it came over the speakers that signaled the beginning of the show. From there, the band launched into "You Don't Wanna" instrumental. Everyone (including Tricky) just grooved out for a good ten minutes to it. (Of course, Tricky had to light and smoke his normal big spliff- take that Philadelphia non-smoking laws!) Throughout the instrumental (and much of the concert actually), Tricky directed the band to swells and quiet moments through his arm motions. "The Love Cats" was up next and it was boring. I'm not sure if it's that I don't like the song or what, but... it wasn't anything particularly special.
I was much more excited for "Past Mistake"- that was the Tricky I've come to love live. Kira (it was actually Veronika) actually overwhelmed Tricky's vocals from time to time but I honestly have to say she did the song justice. Past Mistake became a 10 minute long song with Tricky directing the band at will, up and down- with extended lyrics of "I hope Jesus comes!" It almost turned into a tent revival- I really think he was trying to bring Jesus back down here. He also included the lyrics of "I love you Dad!" which was strange for two reasons- I thought he didn't have a good relationship with his father and well, two, he did Girls later in his set and we know how the lyrics of that go. All in all, it's a song that was a favorite off Knowle West Boy that became even better live.
Next up, "Black Steel". I've always gotten nervous when I see him live, wondering if whatever female vocalist he's picked for that tour will be able to handle it. Well, Veronika did her homework and she knocked it out of the park. I really couldn't have been happier and I was really impressed with her.
Then... "Puppy Toy." The first time I listened to the song ever, it was nice and I liked it but I didn't think much of it. It's now my favorite song on KWB though and it was great to see it live. Again, Veronika sang VERY strongly- she's so tiny but man can she belt it out. It didn't differ too much from the album version. She was equally strong on "Veronika." Veronika really carried the vengeful, pissed off-edness (yeah, I made that word up) into the song and it really came off as extremely foreboding. (It was also kind of cute because in the breaks/silence of the song, I could see her "counting" for when to come back in.)
"Council Estate" was pretty much every other performance of it that you've seen. It was great- just nothing unusual occurred. "Baligaga" followed it. Tricky introduced Rodigan and the song began. I call it a "dub" version because it was quite slowed down- it didn't have the jazzy feel of the record cut. Unfortunately, someone had to come out and ruin it. I'm not sure who the guy was but in the middle of it, with Rodigan and Tricky skanking it up on stage, someone came running out and unfortunately had a mic. The only thing I could make out was "yaw, yaw, yaw...". Worst 90 seconds of the whole concert.
I was excited when I heard "Pumpkin" but unfortunately, the downturn of the show continued. It's not really a great song for Kira. As I mentioned earlier, she's quite the belter- "Puppy Toy" was great for her. She attempted Martina's breathy vocals on "Pumpkin" though and it just didn't work for her. She hit more than a few wrong notes and her voice kept getting lost in the background sound.
My spirits lifted with "Lyrics of Fury." Again, she knocked it out of the park. I remember seeing Amber Sunshower back in 2000/2001 (?) do it on stage live and I wasn't thrilled to say the least. (Martina sets a high standard, what can I say?) I really had low expectations but again, Veronika knew the words, didn't miss a word or a beat and kept going through the whole thing. All in all (and I've never been a huge fan of the song), this was one of my favorites of the night. The band REALLY kicked it up and it was just an intense song all around.
"Girls" came up next. I wasn't sure what to expect and thought it was kind of randomly thrown in but I also really enjoyed it- another favorite of the night. I was a little sad that Veronika skipped some of Kiedis' vocals ("Rabble rouser... I allow this... come on baby... (etc.)", but still... this was a typical Tricky live song. The song stretched for a good 10 minutes of Tricky shouting "And I don't care!!!"... while attacking the drum set. He almost pulled it down more than once.
"Dear God" was disappointing and boring. If I see Tricky with Veronika again, I don't want to see anything as quiet as this song or (even though I love it) "Pumpkin." Give me loud and intense when these two are on stage.
"You Don't Wanna" was fantastic! Again, Veronika got the whole "I am an angry b&^% and I am going to f&^ up your day" thing down pat. Between this and "Veronika", I wouldn't piss Veronika off. After the song, he thanked the crowd profusely with clasped hands (and I really hope he heard me when I yelled "WELCOME BACK, TRICKY!!!"- I know Veronika did because I was in front of her.)
Of course, the crowd refused to leave and stomped their feet, clapped, etc. until Tricky came back out. I promised my friends there would be an encore and of course, we weren't disappointed. The encore of "Vent" and "Joseph" was incredible. *I should state here that this is the 5th time I've seen Tricky live and I've been a fan for many years. The two people I brought with me, my husband and my best friends, were lukewarm Tricky fans at best. AFTER THE ENCORE, THEY BELIEVED IN THE GREATEST THAT IS THE TRICKY KID. (Ok, that was a little melodramatic.)*
"Vent" was incredible and for those who have seen it live, it was everything it usually is. For those who haven't, this song live will give you CHILLS. I think listening to the record doesn't accurately give you the foreboding chills that the lyrics SHOULD but... wow. Veronika was great- Tricky was great. In the 10+ minutes of the song, Tricky directed the band to rises and swells... and even pointed to the band to single out an instrument for solo. Tricky echoed the "Can hardly breathe!" refrain over and over- I worried that he actually was having an asthma attack, as intense as he was. Kira of course did the female vocals but the song belonged to Tricky.
"Joseph" was just... wow. I hope somewhere someone records all of "Joseph" live so everyone can experience it because while the album cut is good, it doesn't even begin to come close to the perfectness of "Joseph" live. MAYHEM reigned on stage. The song started simply enough but Tricky took it to another level. The song easily went 15 minutes, maybe 20, with Tricky emphasizing "She left me now she's GONE!!!" a bit. At one point, he grabbed on to the bass drum. Before, he almost pulled it off and the roadies had to keep fixing it. During Joseph, he just pulled it off where it was and threw it off to the left. When he (and the music) calmed down a bit, he somberly told the crowd "Respect yourself, you're special." He repeated it without music a few times and eventually swelled into shouting it.
Too long didn't read version- THE SHOW WAS INCREDIBLE. AS I SAID, I HAVEN'T SEEN HIM IN 8 OR SO YEARS AND IT WAS COMPLETELY WORTH THE WAIT. EVEN THE SONGS I DIDN'T LIKE (PUMPKIN AND DEAR GOD) STILL WEREN'T HALF BAD AND I REALLY HOPE TRICKY DOESN'T STAY AWAY FOR FIVE+ YEARS AGAIN. WE NEED HIM TOO MUCH.
IF YOU'RE ON THE FENCE ABOUT GOING/CAN'T GET THE MONEY OR TIME OFF FROM WORK- QUIT YOUR JOB IF YOU HAVE TO, STEAL MONEY IF YOU HAVE TO... GO TO THE SHOW. YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED.