Jan 20, 2012

PJ Harvey @ State Theatre


Lights dimmed. Smoke rose. Anticipation was high. A woman of slight stature, but great substance entered the stage. She wore long black flowing robes, feathers in her hair. Three men in Edwardian clothing joined her. She gripped us, she enclosed us. She was PJ Harvey.

Thursday night at the ornate State Theatre was a night of perfect moments. Of something all together unreal and special. Of time standing still, all of us knowing that this was indeed something special. You could say I have long been a casual fan of Ms Harvey. I owned the odd album and always enjoyed her music without delving fully into her full repertoire. I had seen her years ago at a Big Day Out, but never in her own individual setting. This then represented a great opportunity. Especially after falling under the spell of her latest opus in "Let England Shake". This album was a musical departure, epic and dark. Solemn and terrifyingly good. So the show encapsulated this. PJ played the entire album, all done with grace and class. She didn't rock the stage, but she certainly graced it. Her performance was almost theatrical. Armed with an autoharp, and sometimes guitar, she swayed and quietly danced. Moving lithely back into the dark after each song, sometimes with a subtle dance. "All And Everyone" was heartbreaking doom. "In The Dark Places" was glorious and sublime. "The Last Living Rose" rose and sank with superb class. My heart sighed during "On Battleship Hill" and my heart ached as she serenaded us with "England". It was however some songs from "White Chalk" that proved to be my absolute highlights. In the middle of the set she dropped in "The Devil" and "Dear Darkness" with devastating effect. Then the closer "Silence" sent us home with joy singing through our bodies. This was a unique show. Atmsophere was fairly dripping from the walls. The band was great in support too. PJ's performance was full of power, my god her voice, but also managed to be restrained and subtle. She is a very sensual creature, moving with elegance and comeliness. Inviting us, gratefully, into her complex world.
 
Set List
Let England Shake
The Words That Maketh Murder
All And Everyone
The Big Guns Called Me Back
Written On The Forehead
In The Dark Places
The Devil
Dear Darkness
The Glorious Land
The Last Living Rose
England
Pocket Knife
Bitter Branches
On Battleship Hill
Down By The Water
C'mon Billy
Hanging In The Wire
The Colour Of The Earth

The Piano
Angelene
Silence

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