Skip to content

Tag: Marquee Theater

Janelle Monáe: Electrifying [Tempe Marquee Theater Recap]

janelle1

This woman is one of a kind. The Electric Lady, the title of Janelle Monáe’s latest album, is no joke. Electricity surges through her on stage: in the manic dance moves that channel James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Elvis; in the instant, interactive connection she makes with her audience; in her powerful, silky smooth singing; in that smile… in that Stage Presence. Wow!

Yeah, Janelle owned the stage last night for a good hour and 45 minutes at the Marquee Theater in Tempe – my first, and definitely not my last time, seeing her live. A truly great performer is backed by a top notch, talented backing band, and Janelle brought one along: a powerful nine piece pop/soul/rock/funk outfit consisting of two backup singers, two horns, a drummer, a percussionist, guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist. Janelle and her band had the crowd, a couple thousand strong, buzzing from the start. It was the kind of eclectic crowd you’d see at a Prince show – black, white, young, old, gay, straight (“black, white, Puerto Rican everybody just a freakin’ good time..”as Prince once sang).

You just can’t pigeonhole Janelle into a category. It’s not straight R&B, soul (or neosoul) or pop/rock. It’s a grab bag of all of these styles and influences. The supercharged pop of  “Dance Apocalyptic,” one of my favorites, made an early appearance, along with the down tempo R&B of  “Give Em What They Love” and the straight ahead funk of “Q.U.E.E.N”.  She ripped through “Tightrope” (from her great debut full-length, The ArchAndroid), along with a cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”

The real magic, the full-circle realization that you’re seeing someone truly special, came during the four song encore. After coming back out to smooth out the crowd with “Primetime” (a ballad she sings with Miguel on Electric Lady), she launched into Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” which I first saw her perform during the 2010 BET Awards tribute to Prince (which you should watch here). If there’s any performer who’s fully qualified to cover the tune, it’s Janelle Monáe, with her manic intensity.

And then came the highlight of the night for me and I’m sure most of the crowd: “Come Alive (War of the Roses).” The song, about 3 and a half minutes long on the ArchAndroid album, turned into a 10-15 minute clapping & dancing & shaking interactive workout. At one point as the band broke it down, Janelle motioned everyone to get down low, and damned if she didn’t have almost the whole crowd in the room crouching down low for a good three minutes (give or take a few too-cool-for-school audience members, who received jokingly glaring looks from her). There was the interactive call and response between Janelle and the crowd. There were the high energy band solos, as each of them got a chance to showcase their talents for 20 seconds or so… and then there was Janelle, finally jumping out into the crowd, surfing her way a good twenty feet in (see the pic above)…

It was one of those live music moments every fan hopes for: when you say goodbye to reality for a few minutes and lose yourself in the moment. A deep connection with a performer that, when it’s all over, you realize you’re standing there with a huge smile plastered across your face.

There are very few live performers who can channel into that space and establish that core connection with the audience. I’m lucky to say I’ve returned to see Prince and Springsteen do that to me more than two dozen times…

Janelle Monáe has that magic too. I saw it last night.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_0gMYq6Odw&w=640&h=360

Prince at the Marquee Theater – May 1st – Setlist

na9k

Man, what a night! What a thrill to see Prince in the intimate confines of the Marquee Theater in my hometown.

I’m old school, so the highlights for me were seeing Prince front and center from 20 feet away singing “Joy In Repetition” (with Larry Graham in the background on bass), “Forever In My Life (with Prince on bass, Ida on keys), and “She’s Always In My Hair.”

“Purple Rain” with P on keys was also magnificent, although I wish he would’ve started on keys and moved to the guitar for the solo..

The crowd was electric, the joint was packed, and I was one happy Prince fan after an 11 year drought since I last saw him live.

Prince
Marquee Theater
Tempe, AZ
May 1, 2013

Start Time: 8:23pm
End Time: 10:11pm

The Breakdown
Let’s Go Crazy
Endorphinmachine
Screwdriver
Dreamer (with Bowie’s “Fame” snippet) >
Play That Funky Music
She’s Always in My Hair
The Love We Make
Forever In My Life
Joy in Repetition (w/ Larry Graham)
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) [w/ Larry Graham]

***sampler set***
When Doves Cry
Nasty Girl
Sign o the Times
A Love Bizarre
Housequake
I Would Die 4 U
Hot Thing
Pop Life
The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

Purple Rain
Adore

**Encore**
Let’s Go (The Cars cover)
Guitar
Plectrum Electrum
Fixurlifeup

My Night With The Pogues (@ the Marquee Theater)

Check another one off of my bucket list – I have now seen the Pogues.

Last night’s show at the Marquee Theater in Tempe was their first stop in Arizona. Ever. And it was my first chance to catch a band I’ve long admired – a legendary British band masterfully playing Irish folk music since 1982. A band fronted for most of their years by the notoriously erratic and often [always?] inebriated Shane MacGowan.

This was the 7th show of a relatively short swing across the West and central U.S., and reports in from their Los Angeles show a few nights ago had me reconsidering the steep $60 ticket price. Shane wasn’t in great shape at the Nokia Theater – stumbling and fumbling around, falling down multiple times; at one point finishing a song lying on his back.

But Shane is like that box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get. He has his good days and his bad days, and I wasn’t about to miss the chance to see these legends.

After a couple pints of Guinness at my old haunt, Casey Moore’s Oyster House (I lived around the corner for five years back in my single days) – it was off to the Marquee Theater across the Mill Avenue bridge.

It was a little after 10pm when the band sauntered on  stage to the sounds of the Clash’s “Straight to Hell” on the PA. 10-15 seconds after his bandmates came out (just enough time for the crowd to think “Uh oh” to themselves), Shane MacGowan – drink and cigarette in hand – shuffled out to center stage in a seasoned drunkard’s stagger.

Then the opening notes of “Sally Maclennane” kicked in, and there was no looking back. My friend Todd and I spent the show front and center, just on the outer edge of the drunken mosh pit that would vary in intensity throughout the evening (but was never still). Even during songs like “Dirty Old Town” and “Rainy Night In Soho”, there were at least a few testosterone-laced brutes jostling around.

As the show progressed, a pattern began to take shape: a couple songs with Shane, and one without – while Shane took a breather side stage (I assume). But like clockwork, Shane would make his way back to center stage, grab the mic in his signature style, and sing the great songs of the Pogues. Unlike his earlier shows in San Diego and L.A., he stood the entire time. It seems funny to be thankful that an artist you paid $60 to see was able to simply stand for a whole show. But this is Shane MacGowan we’re talking about. I’d be interested to know if Shane has ever been sober for a performance.

Clearly it was one of Shane’s “good” nights. Maybe it was the Arizona sunshine at the Biltmore luxury resort, where the Pogues stayed; or maybe it was the U2 concert in Glendale the night before, where Shane was in attendance, and prompted a shout out from Bono himself (and a segue into “Dirty Old Town”). Maybe the U2 show inspired Shane to pull it together for his fans.

Whatever forces of nature were in place, it resulted in over 90 minutes of unbridled Irish-inspired joy and revelry. The crowd – old and young alike – swayed, danced, and most notably, smiled. This was one of those live music experiences where time stood still. Before I knew it, the final song,”Fiesta”, was playing, Spider Stacy was smashing a pizza pan against his forehead, and Shane was leading the crowd in a singalong:

“Come all you rambling boys of pleasure / And ladies of easy leisure / We must say Adios! until we see Almeria once again”.

And then it was over.

I may never see the Pogues again. God willing, Shane MacGowan will continue to defy all odds behind his self destructive behavior, and he will continue to front this amazing band. But I thank the Music Gods I had an opportunity to experience the spirited majesty of a Pogues show.

==============

On Twitter: well, people do read the Twitter ramblings of @ickmusic! Check out this Phoenix New Times article.

On Youtube: 1123Mozart captured this great quality video of “Rainy Night in Soho”..

==============

Set ListMarquee Theatre – Tempe, Arizona – 10/21/2009

Sally Maclennane
Streams of Whiskey
If I Should Fall From Grace With God
The Broad Majestic Shannon
Young Ned Of The Hill
White City
A Pair of Brown Eyes
Tuesday Morning
Transmetropolitan
Kitty
Sunnyside of the Street
Repeal of the Licensing Laws
Body of an American
Old Main Drag
Thousands are Sailing
Dirty Old Town
Bottle of Smoke
The Sick Bed of Cuchulain

Star of the County Down
Rainy Night in Soho
Irish Rover

Paddy on the Railway
Fiesta