Royal Albert Hall
Now don’t get me wrong, it was a great show, it just wasn’t the show I was expecting. With the 20 year revision of Tiger Lily, Paradise is There, I was somehow expecting this to be a play through of the album live, as is currently de rigeur. And the stage set-up led me to believe the same, with keyboards, guitar, double bass and drums, with a string quartet alongside. When the first half consisted of songs from other albums, first night nerves causing her to fluff the start of ‘Maggie Said’ three times, this was fine, as I was able to confidently say what the second half would be. Once her stilted start wore off she gradually melted, loosening her hair and unleashing her fabled twirls, sort of Stevie Nicks meets Maddy Prior, uncertain whether more or less embarrassing than either, with several newer songs from 2014’s eponymous album, a staple in my car recently. The string quartet were divine, the rest of the band a tad anonymous, albeit accomplished, especially the bassist and guitarist. An interval led, again, to a song I wasn’t expecting before the familiar start to ‘Beloved Wife’. But actually barely a couple of other songs from this album appeared, with the emphasis more on songs that the crowd could respond fawningly to. And no room for my favourite,’San Andrea Fault.’
Sedate, polite and, inasmuch as the quartet in front, annoying, as they spent most of the time playing with their mobiles.
It made me think..
I wonder how many others were expecting The Paradise is There Tour to consist of what the label suggested. I like Natalie, but the no expense spared would have been for a standard, however top-notch, show.