All kudos to Alison Goldfrapp, but let’s also hear a cheer for her band and sound team, who all came together with nary a missed beat to provide a thrilling climax to her Australian tour at Melbourne’s Palace Theatre on Tuesday night.
Goldfrapp, soldiering on despite the death of her mother (announced on her blog in July), headed a band as tight as her body suit: a keyboardist with a Chrissy Amphlett fringe who was either busy with one hand on the keyboard and the other on the synthesiser or boogeying away at the front with a keytar; a Sheena Easton lookalike drummer presiding over a hybrid electric-acoustic kit; a cruisy bassist who might’ve been Jason Statham’s little brother; and a ringmaster who bounced around with a certain impish glee with his wild hair and beard and pyjama style body suit as he added highlights with an electronic violin thingy, guitar or keytar – the double keytar attack on some songs was truly awesome. And then there was Goldfrapp herself, raising hairs with those high notes, and otherwise enthralling with a set to seduce, all breathy and note perfect as she strutted centre stage and reeled off an hour and a half of hits, including two encores.
The lighting was striking, centred on a silver doughnut at stage rear, with lots of strobes and smoke, but it was the sound that made the night: the keyboards were working overtime, laying the foundation with a huge sound complemented by the rhythm section’s driving beat.
There was little chitchat from Ms Goldfrapp, looking resplendent in her mix-and-match black bodysuit and makeup lifted from the Alive music clip – minimalist but for the dark eyeshadow that enhanced the silvery undead gleam from the stage lights.
Light and shade were provided by a range of songs (penned by the songwriting duo of Goldfrapp and Will Gregory) from the cruisy Utopia, from debut album Felt Mountain, to more wistful Black Cherry to the joyful dancefloor pop of recent singles Alive and Rocket. The band were sharp, stopping and starting in perfect sync, and the tunes arranged to provide moments of quiet for Goldfrapp’s high range to weave its magic.
It was an impressive display of slick musicianship that could only have been improved by having Tycho Brahe in support!