13 January 2010

Marianne Faithfull Live at Tarrytown Music Hall

I've always found attending an event in a proper old theater to be a glamorous side dish with a heaping main course of magic. Everything about the setting reminds me of days gone by when people dressed up to attend shows in these ornate venues. The lighting, sound, big stage, and location all add to the elegance, and the live show is always the magical part. Last night at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, NY, there was magic afoot when the stage was graced with the presence of Marianne Faithfull.

Marianne Faithfull's first US show of 2010 was one of those shows I would categorize as outstanding. We managed to snag second row "Orchestra Left" aisle seats so we had a perfect unhampered view of the stage. Important to me as someone so petite who inevitably has an "angry giant"* smack dab in front of them! Marianne came out on stage to much applause and launched into an hour and a half of a mixture of old favourites and cover songs. We got to hear the debut of two songs just added to her repertoire as well.

The set list contained many of the covers that are on her latest album titled "Easy Come, Easy Go" of songs by Dolly Parton, The Decemberists, Duke Ellington, and Morrissey. She also included old favourites such as "Broken English", "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan", "Why D'ya Do It?", as well as the classic "As Tears Go By"; the song that started it all for her 45 years ago and stands as great today as it was then! She rounded out the set with songs such as "Sister Morphine" (M. Faithfull/ M. Jagger), "Crazy Love" (M. Faithfull/ N. Cave), and "Sing Me Back Home" which is performed by her and Keith Richards on the album. The two new songs that she debuted were "Miss Otis Regrets" by Cole Porter, and "The Phoenix" by Judee Sill.

Her voice was in top form. Although she started her career as a folk singer and her voice sounded much different; today her distinctive voice is known for being dusky and deep, with a resonance that lets you know its her and no one else in the world. Don't let that great sexy, shadowy almost sinister sound fool you though, it can turn sweet and sentimental too. While she still has those same qualities, her voice has developed a deeper tone, with more range, which gives an ever-so-slight softness to the edges. What I've always loved about her is that when she does a cover song, she always makes it her own. There is never a spewing out of the same exact song as the original. Marianne's got a great talent for giving a song its own distinct stamp, be it the musical or vocal arrangement. You'll rarely think of the song in the same way again; John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" is a great example. Frankly it grew a pair of balls when Marianne got hold of it.

Her band was tight; so tight in fact that if they did make any screw-ups on the first show of the tour we couldn't tell. Always the mark of a great back up band -- hell, the mark of a great band period! Their sound was tremendous, and was a perfect compliment to Marianne's voice; yet on its own demanding your full attention as well. Unfortunately I was clapping too hard when she was introducing them to write all their names down, so if any of you know, please fill me in! Sorry guys, you deserve better!

Lastly, I'll leave you with a little bit of a fan-girl note to give you an idea of how Marianne interacts with her audience. Before singing "Broken English", she said she needed lipstick for that one and proceeded to put on a deep, highly pigmented red lipstick sans mirror. The acoustics must have been really good, or I was louder than I thought as I reverentially said "Wow, no mirror?" I'm always awe-struck when a woman can put on any colour other than lip balm without looking to make sure she doesn't come out looking like a clown like I do when presented with the situation! To which she looked at me and candidly said "You do it by touch, don't you? You just get used to it" and then finished up her application and added "You're all my mirror" with a big smile. If we were all indeed Marianne's mirror, then she has nothing to worry about as I looked around the crowds and found the faces to be smiling with admiration and love.

Thank you to Marianne and her band for a superb evening!

Marianne's tour continues tonight at Lincoln Center, The Allen Room. For further dates be sure to check her official website: http://www.mariannefaithfull.org.uk/ where you can also find a treasure trove of information on her and her wide-ranging career in music, film, TV, and video.

To see the calendar of events and read about the historic Tarrytown Music Hall built in 1885 by a chocolate manufacturer (Westchester County's Willy Wonka? ha!) go to their website: http://www.tarrytownmusichall.org/

*inside joke -- but this honestly happened, and might possibly be documented on film no less!


  1. Thankies! So many were ruined because I was bopping around way too much!

  2. Would love to see Ms. Faithfull in concert. I once saw her walking on Grafton Street in Dublin (when she used to live here) on Christmas Eve, but she looked lost in her own world and I didn't want to intrude. If you haven't read her first book "Faithfull" I thoroughly recommend it. I'd say you'd really enjoy it. Thanks for the post!


Don't be shy, talk to me! Speak your mind and make a difference. I love finding new blogs to follow, and I can't visit unless you comment.
*Please note: comments are moderated, and anonymous commenting is allowed. I will NOT publish rude comments made anonymously, if you have something rude to say then grow a pair and sign in, then I'll post your comment.I also don't publish comments with imbedded links to spam sites, so stop wasting your time -- you know who you are!