Grace Jones Meltdown review

Review: Grace Jones’ Meltdown

Review: Grace Jones’ Meltdown

For the closing night of her Meltdown Festival, Grace Jones’ artistic vision came to life in a stunning spectacle that merged her worlds of fashion and music at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. Adam Davidson reviews…

The festival, curated by fashion icon, actor and musician Grace Jones, ran at the Southbank Centre from June 10 and concluded with a performance on June 19 at the Royal Festival Hall in front of a sold-out crowd.

Fashionably late, the curtains dropped on the main stage revealing a 20ft tall Grace Jones in a huge dress towering over her band as she sang “This Is.” The audience was in awe at the theatrics and this continued throughout the night.

Grace Jones gained fame for redefining boundaries in fashion and she had the same fearless approach for this daring performance.

After the majority of songs, there were quick changes into outlandish fashion choices, from a surrealist melting piano hat to a Red Riding Hood cape.

The set was high octane, frantic and meticulously choreographed.

The 74-year-old had the youth and vigour of a 30-something as she strutted around the stage in high heels, Hula Hooped whilst drinking glasses of red wine and even channeled her inner Keith Moon by throwing a drum kit across the stage.

It was fast and frantic and the star talked about how fast her heart was beating, placing the microphone to her chest to see if the audience could hear it and said: “I’ll have to get my heart rate down or we gonna have to call an ambulance.” She did this by taking the audience to church as she stunned them into silence for a fitting rendition of Amazing Grace.

In between songs the audience would regularly shout to Grace about how much they loved her but when she sang and spoke you could hear a pin drop.

Then, with a glass of red wine in hand, she performed ‘Pull Up to Your Bumper’ and during an extended instrumental, golden confetti cannons went off and the singer was paraded like music royalty through the stalls on a security guard’s shoulders.

For the encore, Jones came on to a dimly-lit stage for her ‘last’ song ‘Hurricane.’ Dressed in a long black cape with a horned helmet, Jones was blown by a wind machine as she tried to make her way to a pole at the end of a stage. It encapsulated the stunning theatrics that the audience had been immersed in all night long.

The show went past the curfew but Jones and the audience were having an incredible evening so when the crew pulled the plug and insisted she came off stage, she sang La Vie en Rose in its entirety in French a cappella.

The closing event of Grace Jones’ Meltdown was exciting, stylish, powerful and anarchic, all words that could also be used to describe the icon herself.