was amazing, by the way. If you're just tuning in, I went to see PJ Harvey downtown at the Orpheum on Monday night. I've figured you're tired of all this and I haven't even written about the show yet. It's partly to do with being busy, and partly because I'd planned to do it in the early morning post but it got so long I figured I'd split it in two.
My friend Libby went with me. Well, she met me, actually. And the minute I walked up she said, "Did you see Vincent Gallo over there?" I looked toward the nearby burger stand she gestured to, and she immediately started walking in that direction, saying things like "Did you wanna get something to eat? You could get a burger there. Let's check out the menu!" Then when she saw the fruit basket on the counter she said, "How about some fruit. You want a banana?" It was too funny; I didn't even need the help spotting him, but Libby wanted to make sure I got a good look at ol' Crazy Eyes.
Once we got in the theater, I spent a good ten minutes recounting to Libby all the other PJ Harvey shows I saw, as I did in the post I link to above. These memories are important to me, in case you haven't noticed....
PJ took the stage to sustained screaming. She started plucking out "To Bring You My Love," on her guitar all by herself. I knew the concert would be her all by herself, but it started to sink in then. This wasn't just any PJ Harvey concert. This was an evening with Polly Jean Harvey. And it was a stunning evening. She was gracious, pleasant, charming; she's not one for onstage patter, but she seemed quite genuinely humbled by all the adoration she was getting from the audience. We PJ fans do not play around, seriously.
I do enjoy all the new songs, particularly "Grow Grow Grow," which I posted a Youtube vid of in here, and "The Devil" and "The Mountain," but my favorite moments came from the older songs. Maybe they always will; I discovered Rid of Me in high school, as well as its stripped-down counterpart, 4-Track Demos. Listening to her roar out "Man-Size," "Snake" and "Rid of Me" on a solitary guitar was particularly satisfying. The way she toyed with tempo and arrangement on some of the other songs was where much of the surprises came from, though. I've already mentioned the version of "Down By the Water" on the autoharp, but she really switched up her vocal delivery on "Big Exit," from Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea all the while she sped up the guitar, which gave the song a less bombastic, more frenetic quality. It was a great fit with the "Rid of Me"-era songs.
I have to say, as much as I love her with a band -- or hell, even with a dance troupe -- all by herself might be the best way to go. Maybe I'm just selfish, but I'm not sure I want to be distracted from my PJ with all kinds of racket and rockstar swagger going on around her. I'll surely see her again, in whatever manifestation she presents herself to me, but if she never does a show like this again, I'm glad I caught it. It's one for the ages.
I found a youtube of her doing "Big Exit" as I described it above. I'm loving posting all these Youtubes! Enjoy one more: