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300 Words From London: Grace Jones Meltdown

Grace Jones at the Royal Festival Hall. Still stomping in disco high heels at 60.

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by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: June, 2008
At one point it looked like she had a traffic cone on her head
by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: June, 2008
At one point it looked like she had a traffic cone on her head

This was an immersive show. Even in the cheap seats way up in the balcony we were relentlessly bombarded by lasers and strobes and a subliminal flashing message that spelled out "love" whenever you blinked (except for me it spelled out "evol" but perhaps I was blinking backwards.


Grace Jones was the highlight of Meltdown for me last year when she performed at the Disney cavalcade. This time out she had her own show with a full band and many changes of headwear. At one point it looked like she had a traffic cone on her head but as I said, we were right at the back.

I remember Grace Jones from alternative discos back in the 1980s. Oh how badly we danced to "Warm Leatherette" or "Pull Up To the Bumper". I forgot, or maybe I never ever realised that Grace has a real voice with a range that would shame Madonna for one. Beyond the menacing monotone, revisited for a beautifully bizarre new track about "man-eating" with a spectacular morphing monochrome video that served as tonight's prelude, she sang a splendid "La Vie En Rose" and then a snatch of "Amazing Grace" like a full-powered gospel singer.


If you have a favourite Grace Jones song she played it. She played everything I can remember her ever singing. Sting's finest moment "Demolition Man" was turned into a titanic Teutonic krautrocker. For "Love Is The Drug", Grace wore a spangled bowler hat and had a green laser firing on top of her head so the beam diffracted like an explosion of sapphires.

At the end, a stage invasion with lots of very camp dancing. A girl tried to put her arms around Grace and she snarled like a Bond villain, "touch me and I'll throw you off the motherfucking stage". And then smiled. And danced on.

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Lake
Editor, London

the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.

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