Not given to carrying out regular or extensive tours of the UK, the London Palladium offered a rare chance to catch Aimee Mann live. With her latest release, “Mental Illness”, being one of the albums of 2017, in my opinion, I had high expectations. Seeing the seemingly eternally, youthful-looking, 57 year old Ms Mann on stage, you can’t help thinking that she’s entered into some Dorian Gray-like pact with the devil, and that back in her home town of Richmond, Virginia there’s an ageing picture of her in someone’s attic.
This was a wonderful show. The set comprised material drawn from almost all of her solo albums. Of the 18 songs played at least six songs came from “Mental Illness”. These finely crafted acoustic-based songs complemented the magnificent venue and the addition of a four-piece string section, to some numbers, was an added bonus. Although many of the new songs concern downbeat subjects: “Snow Goose Cone” (loneliness), “Stuck In The Past” (regret), “You Never Loved Me” (a disappearing groom); Aimee Mann never gives the impression that she’s a miserablist and there’s some entertaining banter between her and her support act Jonathan Coulton, who joined the band on stage for a number of songs.
After a three song encore, including Harry Nilsson’s “One”, Ms Mann was off, leaving us wanting more. It was not too be, perhaps she had to check that her picture was still secure in that Richmond attic. Let’s hope she doesn’t leave it another four years until she’s back.
Hard to say, we were sitting next to a family of four: mum, dad and their two teenage children.
It made me think..
How times change. I would never have considered going to a gig when I was a teenager with my parents. In fact, I’ve only ever been to one musical event with my folks, Lambchop at the Concert Hall in Reading. Owing to the rather muddy sound at the back of the venue, where we were sitting, my father still damningly refers to it as “that concert by The Cutlets”.