Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Joe Jackson & the Nipple Cam

The Bunklelife review of Joe at the Chan (get a coffee)

The band - Last night was the fifth time I've seen Joe Jackson. And I swear, any opportunity I have to see him again I will take, because it is always stellar, always new. This time around, I loved the jazz-trio format (with his long time band mates Dave Houghton and Graham Maby) and the clean, warm sound the Chan allows. Great mix of new tracks from Rain and a selection of older work - and the old sounded new. I heard him interviewed on WXPN a couple of weeks ago and one question posed was how he manages to keep playing songs like I'm the Man almost 30 years later. His response - he keeps it bearable for himself by changing the arrangements as much as he can. And at the risk of sounding like a real concert review (yikes), his rearrangement of You can't get what you want (Til you know what you want) - a sparse, tense, teasing arrangement that had you (ok, me) waiting for the piano to kick in, which it did for the last few bars. I had a better description for all of that, but decided to put the PG version in instead. (And I should mention that this photo isn't one I took - and it's of the tour, but not the night...damn Chan Centre and their camera rules...)

Me: I love Joe Jackson. Really. Always have. It's a relationship that started in my teens - fortunately or unfortunately, one of the most memorable nights of my life happened to involve seeing Joe at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre back in the 80s, along with 1) losing the heel of my shoe; 2) getting ID'd at the restaurant, resulting in my date having a glass of milk with his caesar salad; and 3) having my parents roll out of bed at about 1am because the 70s station wagon that dropped me of was firmly stuck in the ditch outside the house. But enough of that. The highlight of the night was really Joe. And over the years, my respect for his creative capacity has grown and grown. In my mental filing box of musicians, he and Elvis Costello are filed in the same drawer. Both have an amazingly diverse bodies of work - from chamber music to classical to jazz to some of the best and most unusual collaborations I've heard, these two just get more and more interesting. I am sort of tempted to throw Bowie in there as well (though his body of work is more unique than diverse...?), but he lost points when he got the face lift and new teeth. You can't just change your head like that.

Now, some may think Joe has changed his head. Certainly, he has ended up with a very distinctive look over time .... some might say - well, no, I'll let you judge (cue Twilight Zone music):

Filming of the night was compromised by the camera police at the great seating/great sounding Chan Centre. Now, don't get me wrong - I can respect that. Reluctantly. So I didn't bring my camera, so I would avoid the inevitable temptation. My brother did bring his - a little vertical Canon with an adjustable LCD screen and small silver lens - which he finally had the courage to sneak out at the end of the show, held under his jacket with the lens projecting like a big silver nipple. What was caught on camera: a good sounding but not ideally framed of Is she really going out with him?"(the little white blip is Joe's head, honestly....)and this short clip of the man himself exiting the stage.

All the cheering is me. Really. Which brings me to The Audience. Generally well behaved, but apparently this particular group all had really teeny bladders. Either that or they were going to the bathrooms to snort coke, but based on the general demographic I'll guess not. Honestly, go before you sit down, because YOU'RE DISTRACTING when you shuffle in and out across the aisles. Sheesh.

These days, you mention Joe Jackson to anyone under 35 and at best you might get a brow furrow like they are trying hard to remember something from the dark ages. It's too bad - I think his best stuff has been missed by many, or dismissed because it falls outside the comfortable, witty pop he is known for. Heaven & Hell, his foray into the quasi-classical realm, remains one of my favorite albums, but I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one that bought it. Oh well. (And for the pal who I know will read this that can't stand Rain ... well, I didn't like Dream Girls so ....)

Until next time.


Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

I also bought Heaven & Hell. There were 2 others as well. That's all, though.