Phoenix Concert Theatre
Toronto, Canada (16.01.97)
about 120 min
vocals: Tricky, Martina
Intro (Snoop Doggy Dogg)  (partial show: You Tube, You Tube, Mixcloud)
Piano (alternative, long version)
'Don't wait on me'  (Soundcloud, You Tube, audio only)
Ghetto Youth / Nite Klub
Lyrics of fury
Bad dreams
Feed me
Makes me wanna die
Bombing Bastards
Black steel
Sex drive

'She screams'      (You Tube, audio only, mislabelled as the Vienna show)
'I sell guns'
Suffocated love (alternative version, aborted)
Brand new you're retro (alternative version)

There was a radio broadcast of this show, but they ommitted some songs. Probably because they were not radio-friendly: Piano, Don't wait on me, Bombing Bastards, Sex Drive, Vent, I Sell Guns. Tricky played a lot of totally different version of his songs, for example a 14 minute version of "Piano" that has nothing in common with the album version except the lyrics!

You can listen to ths radio broadcast on You Tube here (at the end another show is put in the video from 49 mins. on: Glastonbury 1998 with the songs: Pumpkin, Bad Dreams, Overcome, Antihistamine.) or here. Or listen to it on Mixcloud.
Here is a report about the press conference that day.

There is a review of this extraordinary show on the MTV website:

The live performance was transcendent

"Papa Legba, open the door / Your children await." (Old Voodoo Chant) Believe Tricky when he says he doesn't want to be King of Hip-Hop, or Lord of the Slow Beats. Believe him, because he's already far beyond such petty supermarket concerns. See him--or rather hear him, as he performs in near-total darkness, along with his partner Martina Topley-Bird illumined only momentarily by blue and violet lights--live, where he turns the preconceptions and classifications of music journalists upside down and inside out, finally crushing them.

On-stage, brimming with manic energy yet somehow looking ancient as Time itself, Tricky embodies the Voodoo spirit of Papa Legba, he who opens the door for the loa,or spirits, of the next dimension so that they may enter ours, and thus transform our lives. On this particularly cold Canadian winter's day (Thurs., Jan. 16) at Toronto's Phoenix Club, it was going to take something truly special to heat things up, and Tricky and Martina had just the occult recipe for the occasion.

I've only seen a handful of live acts capable of conjuring the atmosphere that Tricky did on this night, those able to tap into the Dionysian chaos laying beneath the surface of our ordered little lives and make us drink deep from the well of darkness: of rock's current crop, only Girls Against Boys, perhaps, can match Tricky's feral ferocity.

What made this performance all the more amazing was the fact that until now, Tricky has been known more as a studiomeister, a mad genius locked away with his Muse and his sampler, spinning out addictive grooves of warped brilliance. In concert however, Tricky was--incredibly-- able to dwarf his recorded output, as he traveled further and further into the radioactive essence of himself...

Songs? He played plenty of them, nearly two hours worth, backed by a musically agile band capable of following his every polyrhythmic whim. "Ponderosa," from his sensuous "trip-hop" solo debut Maxinquaye, started things off on a relatively placid note, with Martina emoting over a jagged groove which strayed little if at all from the original. The temperature soon began to rise, however, with the following tune, Pre-Millennium Tension's "Christiansands," with its circular, rolling rhythm, Tricky and Martina trading vocal lines, two shadowy figures undulating around their mike stands as if possessed, casting a spell over the rapidly thawing crowd of chilled Canucks.

The door to the next dimension was well and truly wrenched open with the next number, a frenzied improvisation not recognizable from any of Tricky's albums, which revolved around the lines "She's a lifeline, but I can't feel my heartbeat." [note: the lyrics are from "Piano", the music is totally different though] A clanging, industrial guitar riff reminiscent of Captain Beefheart's angular compositions launched this one, Tricky chanting the words, over and over, working himself into a head-bobbing trance (aided, no doubt, by the huge ganja spliff which was omnipresent throughout the show), finally giving way to an unholy-sounding metallic din which was the aural equivalent of Armageddon, the sound of the Great Beast rising from the pit. The song/jam finally thudded to a halt with a pulverizing industrial drum beat that Trent Reznor would kill for--with Reznor being the target of some of recent verbal abuse from Tricky, this seemed a symbolic throwing down of the gauntlet, as in "Look, I can do this NIN trip too--and even better than they do it!

As maniacally intense as Tricky was, Martina Topley-Bird--usually just known as "Martina"--was sensuous. She's the underrated Sex Goddess of 90s popular music on the strength of her sultry, smoky voice alone, a voice which her partner has correctly likened to that of jazz great Billie Holiday. Martina often provided the atmospheric afterglow following the evening's most orgasmic moments, as on the long industrial-ambient number which followed "She's A Lifeline," where she breathily intoned lines prodding the object of her attentions to "Be a man again," this in a voice that could melt a heart of stone at 50 paces [note: this song is not released, 'Don't wait on me', this is different slower version than they played at other shows].

Likewise on one of PMT's best moments, "She Makes Me Wanna Die," Martina provided the chill(s) to Tricky thrill(s), the silky, opiated comedown (big cheers for the lines "You know it's ironic / Smoking hydroponic") from the preceding volcanic eruption of Maxinquaye's "Feed Me. But perhaps the biggest jolt of the entire night came during Tricky's own tranced-out, hypnotic reading of PMT's "Ghetto Youth," a generally critically-reviled dub track (mainly because of the fact that most critics can't penetrate the thick patois of the Jamaican street vendor who "sings" it) which, in a live context, with Tricky hissing sweaty, clenched-teeth lines about "the evil in you, the evil in me" and "syphilis," sounded like his crowning artistic achievement thus far.

As the concert progressed, the symbolism of Tricky's darkened stage became apparent: rather than a merely perverse display of anti-showmanship, as some misguided local critics opined, rock's version of Papa Legba was psychically operating from within the flux, from the shadowy nether-realm that his shrouded platform evoked, literally becoming its conduit, the vehicle through which we the audience might catch a fleeting glimpse of its secrets, its transformative power. "Don't push me because I'm close to the edge" he warned during the first encore's sensuously claustrophobic "Vent," which itself was driven to its very limit and then further, finally exploding like a dark star flung from the void.

No, not merely close to the edge, is our Tricky, but wayyyyy past it.



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