Toronto, Canada (18.07.01)
vocals: Tricky, Ambersunshower, Hawkman, Marlon
here's a review from Chris Marley:
As a fairly dedicated fan of Tricky’s for the past 6 years, I must admit I have become a little cynical as of late. Although I have fairly positively embraced Blowback, the glossed up pop sheen I find disappointing after the claustrophobic, sex fused, sinister beauty that permeated his first three, with the first single “Evolution Revolution Love” almost as woefully tired exercise in mundanity as last albums “For Real” (the revolution has not just begun, I fear it is over). Further contributing to my cynicism, was the last two mediocre performances in 99 and 98 at the same venue in front of a typically docile Toronto crowd. That my skepticism was unfounded is an understatement.
As my first pleasant surprise of the evening, the opener Emiliana Torrini was quite good, and worth arriving in time to catch. Her sound is quite reminiscent of Morcheeba, with tinges of Bjork. And aside from an unspectacular Sneaker Pimps cover of “Ten to Twenty” and a little vocal distortion, were really quite impressive and received a warm reception from the crowd. However, as the intermittent fluff music faded away, the lights went out and the familiar errie piano and thumping bass of “Yukiko” began pounding from the speakers, a synonymous lighting of cigarettes and joints were lit in preparation for what could be any number of show stylings from the moody preformer. From very early on, it became clear that this was not the shy Tricky reluctant to take his shirt off in 95, nor the dark, recluse playing in pitch black at the Phoenix in 97, or the insecure neurotic playing for Korn fans at Lollapolloza, but a performer that has perfected his stage presence, even thriving on it. In typical Tricky fashion, the three main singers arrived on stage with Tricky and Hawkman standing, backs to the crowd as Ambersunshower belted out a slightly edgier version of “You Don’t Wanna” to great approval. The vocalist had great stage chemistry with the most impressive being Hawkman who, although seems to be getting mixed opinions from fans of Blowback, and a little shy on stage, was phenomenal. As a close second, Ambersunshower (and it should be noted I am about the biggest Martina fan going) was outstanding in her singing, her sexy Martina style mesmerizing, graceful, siren type dancing, and rapping - despite some other claims otherwise - ferociously ripping through a very inspired “Lyrics of Fury” flawlessly… Martina who?
It was then that the show was kicked into full gear, with a great version of “Original, Original”, that dropped the overdone beat of “You” in favor of a quite visceral, guitar heavy sound that was as compelling as it was catchy. Tricky through himself into full performance mode, with his signature violent gyrating and random mantra style repeating of a line or two of lyrics. From what I can make out (and remember) he was screaming “…call me Beetlebum… …call me Uncle Dave” but I can’t be sure so don’t quote me on that. A chilling and very well done “Pumpkin” then followed as Tricky took a break for a smoke. After a brief pause, a metal guitar riff (sounding almost like Guns n’ Roses or Megadeath…) introduced probably the highlight of the night. This song, which I am totally unfamiliar with, whipped the crowd into a frenzy that can only be described as an aural assault. If you can imagine moshing at a Tricky show, this would be the song. The singers included a skank style rapper (that was not Mad Dog – Tricky’s cousin?) for a verse of “Tricky vs. Lynx” (I think), before a fantastic Tricky / Halkman duo, ending with Tricky singing parts of what I seemed to think was “My Evil Is Strong”, though someone was talking to me at the time so it did not have my full attention, and definitely parts of “Piano”, with emphasis on “she’s darker”, followed by “no soul, no soul, no soul…”. The other line often repeated was “flatline, heartbeat”. I cannot stress enough how good this and “Original, Original” were, each about 8 to 10 mins and worth the price of admission alone.
As a follow up song, “Here Comes the Hawk”, a mediocre B-side at best, had a great live translation with Hawkman in full toasting style, showing off mad skills. It was at this point that the show went noticeably downhill for a while. “Christiansands” followed, which, although a great song, I found has never translated well live at all. It was typically bland and uninspired and made me whish for the next song, which, to my shagrin, was "Evolution Revolution Love". Blah. Despite my casting spite under my breath and hopes it would no be to long, what felt like a 30 minute epic was to follow which I suppose was OK if you like that sort of thing. A very welcome “Overcome” followed and then a very long, funked up “The Moment I Feared” that was good, but undanceably fast. The last song before the encore was an inspired “For Real” that had Tricky going once again into violent full body convulsions, much like you would picture a rabbit fornicating on speed. I was quite lengthy, with numerous lulls followed by rocked up jams that you come to expect from his shows. The encore was reminiscent of the strong first two thirds of the show with the final song being an instrumental of “Six Minutes”, during which Tricky had his back to the stage playing with a teddy bear and a shirt that were thrown on the stage earlier; lifting each in turn, as if weighing which one he was to favor. It was a coy little display that was actually quite amusing.
The concert, if it was not for those three songs, was absolutely fantastic
and one of the best and most memorable I have seen. Some problems, however,
remain consistent with his shows. Personally, I am a fan of the darker,
moodier stuff he has done such as “When Doves Cry”, “Yukiko”, “Peyote Sings”,
“Aftermath”, “A Lonely Place” and the second half of PMT, and you just
don’t seem to hear those at the shows. A big reason for that, I can only
assume, is that even some of the classic more mellow songs like “Overcome”
etc. seem a little bland after the many long assaulting jams. The shows,
therefore, can seem a little unbalanced sometimes. Another problem I have,
maybe its just the Toronto crowd, I don’t know, is the lack of respect
for anyone on stage that is not Tricky. Although it is he who the tickets
are sold for, I’ve been to enough hip-hop shows to know you give props
to the MC’s after a good delivery. Hawkman and Ambersunshower were not
even looked at when they were doing their thing, must less encouraged.
Furthermore, after Tricky left the stage halfway through “Six Minutes”,
the band (who don’t have the easiest job in the world) was going strong
with a solid jam and people just walked away to leave. That aside, if this
show is any indication of what this tour is like, it is a must see. This
is the Tricky I remember paying fifty dollars to get a bootleg of , this
is the Tricky whose music I remember being so passionate about. See you