Melody Maker | Live | 7 April 1990
Brixton Academy, London
It's the second of Grace Jones's first London shows for almost 10 years and everybody's hoping there won't be a repeat of the appallingly unprofessional fiasco of the previous night, when Grace arrived at the venue two hours after she'd been due on stage. Half the audience were on the bus home by the time she'd eventually appeared and the performance had then been disrupted by technical problems. God only knows why that should be, because she's elected to use backing tapes rather than bothering to bring a band with her.
Although this evening's show begins only an hour later than scheduled and runs much smoother, Grace is still determined to play at silly buggers. "Pull Up To The Bumper" sounds as glorious as it did all those years ago, but is ruined by her decision to invite three guys from the audience to climb onstage, remove some of their clothes and dance alongside her. Initially embarrassing, it quickly becomes extremely boring. Licking her lips and stroking her thighs in mock salacity for the umpteenth time, Grace is obviously oblivious to this simple fact.
She wears an uncomfortable leather and metal basque – held in place by a couple of straps that cross at her navel – and a matching thong, but almost every song demands some addition to the costume. A plastic raincoat, a tuxedo, a Hawaiian skirt that glitters like it's made of a million stretched silverfish, a Spanish hat, and a huge headscarf each has a part to play. A near naked young man shuffles from the wings to act as her dresser. After this tedious ritual, Grace spends anything up to five minutes talking about what she's going to sing next. In some cases, the introductions last longer than the songs, which seem to be of secondary importance.
During "Walking In The Rain", strobes simulate lightning and the pumping rhythms of "Love On Top Of Love" and "Party Girl" are accompanied by lanky-limbed scurries from side to side and a series of body building poses. For the Balaeric "Amado Mio", Grace rests an elbow on a knee and is perfectly immobile on the stairs at the back of the stage. Since there are no musicians to interact with, she is reduced to relying on a string of ludicrous actions. Every so often, she glances down in apparent horror, cocks her leg and pushes a pubic hair out of sight. I quickly lose count of the number of times she refers to her "pussy".
Whatever complaints the tabloid press may have made about the "obscene" nature of this show, it's dull rather than offensive. It's probably advisable for Grace Jones to wait another decade before returning to the UK. It'll take at least that long before the memory of this dippy and disastrous cabaret act begins to fade.