ALISON MOYET LIVE REVIEW: OCT 2017
ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY
MONDAY 9 OCTOBER, 2017
Reviewed by PARIS POMPOR
Photos by GIOVANNI CAMPOLO-ARCIDIACO
With the powerful, earth-shattering and utterly relevant refrain of “I’m here…” (“at last,” we all wanted to scream back), the decision to open this concert with the tune I Germinate from latest album Other should have been a master stroke. Instead, it all went pear-shaped from the get-go.
Reason? We, the adoring, capacity-crowd were cheering so loudly when Alison Moyet arrived on stage dressed in black and flanked by two synth players, that the singer couldn’t hear her music cue in the monitor. Having gone to considerable trouble to set the scene with atmospheric lighting and a moody, sub-shaking, extended spoken-word introduction taken from the same album, a lesser diva might have spat the dummy completely. Not Moyet. Her reaction was an early glimpse into just how down-to-earth and funny she would be throughout. Simply advising they’d start again with a couple of colourful expletives, Moyet and band left the stage for a re-run of their entrance, but not before we were treated to the first of many throaty laughs – yes the same laugh immortalised in Yazoo‘s club hit Situation.
Throughout tonight’s show, which featured a generous cross-section of early Yazoo, mid-career solo singles and her more recent improvised electronic collaborations with Guy Sigsworth, Moyet seemed genuinely moved by the love coming from the crowd.
And on that front too, she gave as good as she got.
Besides pulling out crowd favourites Nobody’s Diary, Only You, Don’t Go, All Cried Out and Love Resurrection, Moyet was utterly in tune with the fact that a great portion of the crowd was either queer, or queer friendly. A preamble to another tune from the Other LP explained it was about her new hometown Brighton where consenting adults are free to express their love, however and with whomever they please, a jibe not lost on a crowd currently reeling from a postal survey that calls into question the legitimacy of our relationships and families. The most beautiful moment of connection with the audience though, was a tender rendition of the little known tune The Man In The Wings, which Moyet wrote in response to her life-long connection with gay men. “I don’t ache for some tender exchange in the dark – that will pass / when I’ve nothing to bring, I sing for the man in the wings”.
Elsewhere there was a “disco” section, when Situation should have been given an extended 12 inch style work-out. It was perhaps the set’s only misstep: the opportunity to string a bunch of the uptempo tracks together and really get the dancefloor going with a non-stop style mixup. Moyet and band however, opted for short, sharp renditions of most of her tracks, even throwing in a rendition featuring two acoustic guitars. Mostly though, the sound was powerful and almost brutal – the newer songs delivered full-throttle, with dark Massive Attack-like swathes coming from the synthesizers.
While highlights were many, Beautiful Gun, also from the latest album, was probably the standout. All bluesy, scorching electronics, it came off like a Depeche Mode stadium encore, amply showing off Moyet’s incredible set of tonsils. In comparison, Yazoo material was always going to sound more lightweight and poppy (and that’s coming from a reviewer who is a Yazoo tragic and still swears by both their albums). No complaints though, Yazoo were always essentially a pop group, albeit one that boasted some weighted lyrics and an incredible lead singer. And of course tonight, we lapped it all up eagerly.
Come back soon Mx Moyet.