Alison Moyet Goes Disco at Margaret Court Arena

Love All - Alison Moyet Delivers Margaret Court A Divine Intervention

Forget Adele. On Saturday night Alison Moyet turned in a performance that many are already enthusiastically citing as the concert of 2017 and in the process, proved herself unequivocally to be one of the enduring voices of our generation.

With a career spanning more than four decades and album sales of over 23 million, it’s almost impossible not to have fallen victim to a few of her ear worms. Her steadfast fan base overseas ensure she still sells out the Royal Albert Hall whenever she plays there... and they’ll also tell you a couple of things have always remained a constant – a strong will to do things on her terms, and of course that distinctive bluesy contralto voice. It’s a rare gift... Less than 1% possess it and Alison’s god-given gift lands her smack bang in the esteemed company of other legends like Shirley Bassey, Karen Carpenter, Sade, Chaka Khan, Annie Lennox, and, of course, relative newcomer Adele.

Those of us who know Alison and have followed her career know the kind of performance she is capable of and it’s with an air of expectation that we wait in the darkness... The opening salvo for tonights concert is an effective mood setter… a 4 minute spoken monologue entitled ‘April 10’ from her latest album ‘Other’…is so powerful and bass heavy it has to be permeating every chest cavity in the arena…

The track fades and the audiences applause rises to meet Alison as she appears on the riser flanked by her two very kraftwerkian multi-instrumentalists.

She opens proceedings aptly with the very heavy percussive and industrial ‘I Germinate’ from ‘Other’.

“I’m HERE!… I germinate…”

Alison Moyet Goes Disco at Margaret Court Arena

‘She’ is INDEED here, and sounding fabulous to boot. The fullness of her voice and those rich strong sustained notes make us all giddy happy... and agreeable nods spread throughout the audience.

“THANK YOU!!! Thank you so much for coming… it’s entirely brilliant to be here with you!”

Her two sidekicks show off their chops aplenty over the course of the evening, and they prove themselves a fabulous fit, providing deft accompaniment that rises and falls on cue to best showcase that soaring voice. Equally at home with the synthpop of Yazoo or her classic torch songs, I’m impressed that they’re able to get such a full sound with only three of them on stage. Programming technology, when judisciously used, is a wonderful thing.

‘Wishing You Were Here’ from 1991’s enormously successful ‘Hoodoo’ is up next and it is an absolute masterclass in vocal control.

“When I close my eyes... wishing you were here… I can’t begin to tell you how it feels…”

Alison is endearingly down to earth and self deprecating – her in-between banter shows she still calls it exactly like it is...

“Ah...Thank-you!…So, anyway he’s given me a setlist down here ‘cos the other one was too far away ...but I’ve got old lady eyesight and I can’t see it... so all it’s doing is spoiling the stage…”(She then feigns scrunching it underfoot to chuckles from the audience)

After a couple of newer numbers in a row she mindfully chooses it’s high time to roll back the years... “This is something, in fact, I wrote 40 years ago when I was 16…” The familiar synth stabs of ‘Nobody’s Diary’ elicit instant recognition from the audience and a few keen ones immediately jump up and dance in their seats.

The significance of enjoying a largely gay fanbase and then playing Margaret Court Arena is an irony not lost on Moyet and she doesn’t miss an opportunity to twist the knife:

“So I’m sure there are people out there who are parents… parents to kids who are having to grow up to the realisation that actually the world can be pretty shit sometimes… people can be pretty cold… and there’s people like Margaret Court (audience boo) … and this is a song that I, as a parent, have had to write thinking of my child when I have to explain how cold the world can be… and when it’s really cold – it’s like ice and you CAN skate above it…”

Alison Moyet Goes Disco at Margaret Court Arena

Moyet proves herself to be a thinker and a brilliant lyricist... and it is reflected in her compositions... We get a reggae tinged ‘Ski’ from 2002’s ‘Hometown’ album which fairly bounces along, in stark contrast to the lyrics…

“No easy about it
Born to a mountain slide
You’re gonna learn to take a dive…”

Another Yazoo classic... this time it’s ‘Only You’ which the crowd sing along to with great gusto.
Playfully chastising someone down the front for chatting through her introduction, it’s apparent Moyet hasn’t changed one iota... she still just speaks her mind… but then later publicly apologises to them when she hears her own voice feeding back through her stage monitors and realises she has maligned them falsely.

She then takes a few minutes to introduce and contextualize quite a personal song called ‘The English U’… Moyet explains: “It’s a song written about my Mother who died recently of Alzheimers, robbing her of her identity and her sense of self… despite this there were two things that she still felt she could control. One was her children (laughs) and the other was the English language… and as she descended further into this loss, the only thing that she could truly remember was the way the accents went on french words… And after a long time you lose the sense of the person that was there, but the only thing I can really remember about my mother is the fact that she really hated seeing the English U missing in words like ‘Colour’…and this will always be an issue for me as I have Dyslexia... I’m shit … I’m really bad and I can’t spell... and part of me always thought that she saw that as a violence against her… but I tried... very, very desperately… so now the ONE thing that I CAN do is remember her English U and that’s what this song is about…”

What follows is a beautifully lush string arrangement with masterful lyricism:

“I want to save the U
Safeguard the English U, for you
For you
Because I need
I need to find the you
You wanted me to see...

I’m pretty sound with tenses
With when and which and whences
But the order of the letters are degrees

I am made quite otherwise it seems
A criminal to grammar
To apostrophe - the hammer

All that you made matter as to dream
Read to me, I’m always listening…”

Just as Alison is about to finish ‘Getting into Something’ something quite telling happens…

A very pissed guy comes prancing down the aisle with flailing arms and positions himself straight in front of Alison… at first the audience is bemused by his playfulness…

But then there is this exchange...

Inebriate: “I wanna Dance! I wanna Dance!”
Alison: “Well dance then… dance! ...Dance up the back!…Dance then…!”

Inebriate: (to the crowd now:) Get up off your seats… This is fucking boring! Get up off your seats!”

It’s not clear who or what is boring but his impudent criticism of what so far has been such a brilliant gig completely wrongsides the audience who suddenly, as one, turn from bemusement to downright annoyance... The arena groan as one.

Alison: “Mate… mate…MATE, can I tell you something?… This set’s got shape…right? It goes from one place… it goes to another… eventually you get to dance… all you gotta do is start from a little bit less beer… have a little respect for the other people sitting around… Mate... if you wanna dance, go dance up the back…. go dance at a disco…”
Inebriate is obviously beyond saving himself. He continues to shout his mouth off at Alison...

Alison: “Do you know what? DON’T come and see an act that you’ve got no idea of what they do... ’cos it’s just gonna make you look like a TWAT!”

Ouch. You can just sense everyone ducking for cover and shrinking back into their seats….It seems he’s just been schooled. Today’s lesson? Don’t cross Ms Moyet!

Without missing a beat, she immediately launches into a new number from ‘The Minutes’ called “Changeling” which then majestically segues into “All Cried Out”. She sounds magnificent in the sparse arrangement…

As a mic stand is being changed, Alison, now eyeballing the inebriate, engages him once more...

Alison: “So...You might want to get a drink at this point…(chuckles) ‘cos this one’s gonna be slow…” (Chuckles) (Crowd applause)

“When I’m doing a song that’s really heartfelt I tend to focus on one person in the audience, so do you know what…? I’m gonna think about YOU (gesturing again at the inebriate)… This song is for you ‘cos I’m sure that you wish you’d handled that in a different way… so I’m gonna forgive you ...cos I’m a Grandmother ...and we do that kind of shit…”

Alison Moyet Goes Disco at Margaret Court Arena

Moyet is all class and composure as she renders a beautiful song called “The Man In The Wings’ which is normally an ode to gay men, but tonight is a metaphorical olive branch… however, its significance in all probability is lost on the recipient…

“I don’t ache for some tender exchange
In the dark - that will pass
But the purest refrain
Will haunt us again
And he has that with me
When I’ve nothing to bring
I sing for the man in the wings”

You can just feel the commitment Moyet has to these songs by her heartfelt delivery... because the following song ’This House’, literally drips with emotion…

“Who...Who will SHELTER ME?
It’s COLD in here! COVER ME!!!!”

After a couple more gorgeous slower numbers, the set now takes an inevitable turn into dance territory... ‘Right As Rain’ thumps away and is a born contender for a European fashion catwalk. The dissatisfied miscreant comes to mind again as Alison sings the biting lyrics:

“If YOU can’t be happy with me
Be UNHAPPY with me
STAY unhappy with me...”

‘Lover, Go’, another new track from the brilliant ‘Other’ album is up next and sits as one of my personal highlights from tonights performance. The weaving synth lines that spiral up throughout the track are a gorgeous counterpoint to her vocals... a bitter resignation of a failed relationship has never felt so exhilarating.. an absolute belter!

She addresses Margaret Court again in the introduction to the new song entitled ‘The Rarest Birds’:

This song is really relevant to this place and to you people here... I changed my life completely... I used to live in a big house in the country where you didn’t know your neighbours... you didn’t know anyone.. I moved to this place called Brighton in’s a small city but full of diversity... this is a place where young, and indeed old gay couples, can express themselves completely freely, everywhere, without any fear of harm or violence or fear of anyone disrespecting them. This is where trans people can live, completely ‘out’... this is where old people can be eccentric, where young people can be as bland as they wanna be.... to me this is a great example of how everyone can just ‘be’... let everybody be. We’re all children of the same womb, we’re all siblings, we’re all parents, we’re all children... and we belong together... And Margaret Court – if she believes in God as the Great Architect, then why is she saying that he’s failed? So that’s my take on it.... So this is a coming out song...where someone like me... an old matriach... is going to hold your hand and say we belong together, we live together and I celebrate you....”

Probably the loudest applause of the evening ensues as she launches into one of the most affecting songs I’ve heard in ages... ‘The Rarest Birds’ leaves everyone in no doubt that we are privy to something bordering on genius. It’s a pearler of a tune...

We all disco like it’s 1982 as she finishes off the main set with a couple of singalongs... ‘Is This Love’ and another Yazoo classic, ‘Situation’...

The band leg it backstage to whet their collective whistles before the final three numbers. She explains that despite the crowd enthusiastically yelling requests, we WILL get the three songs she’s planned... three bangers...

‘Whispering Your Name’ is first up... and it’s party time on the dance floor... As the opening chords of ‘Love Resurrection’ ring out there are shreiks of excitement and the place just erupts... the vibe is just so joyous...

“Thank YOU!!!!!!!! I love you! how splendid and patient you’ve all been...thank you so much....I’m so happy you came...LET”S GO!...” It’s ‘Don’t Go’ from Yazoo and even the shyest among us are now up and singing and dancing...

“Don’t stop now
don’t you know
I’m never gonna let you go...Don’t gooooo!”

What an absolute triumph of a gig... the brilliance of her new material clearly outshone even her familiar classics and as an artist, you’ve gotta be happy with that... 30 years of waiting and worth every minute... I just hope to God it isn’t another 30 until ‘Alf’ blesses us all with another visit. Cheers to you Alison... you really are the Rarest of Birds!

5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

To get Alison Moyet’s perspective of the gig in her tour blog follow the link below:

Alison Moyet Goes Disco at Margaret Court Arena
Photography by Harry Williams

1. Intro - April 10 (from ‘Other’ 2017)
2. I Germinate (from ‘Other’ 2017)
3. When I Was Your Girl (from ‘The Minutes’ 2013)
4. Wishing You Were Here (from ‘Hoodoo’ 1991)
5. Nobody’s Diary (from Yazoo’s ‘You and Me Both’ 1983)
6. Ski (from ‘Hometime’ 2002)
7. Only You (from Yazoo’s ‘Upstairs At Eric’s’ 1982)
8. The English U (from ‘Other’ 2017)
9. Getting Into Something (from Essex 1994)
10. Changeling (from ‘The Minutes’ 2013)
11. All Cried Out (from ‘Alf’ 1984)
12. The Man in the Wings (from ‘The Turn’ 2007)
13. This House (from ‘Hoodoo’ 1991)
14. Right as Rain (from ‘The Minutes’ 2013)
15. Lover, Go (from ‘Other’ 2017)
16. The Rarest Birds (from ‘Other’ 2017)
17. Is This Love (from ‘Raindancing’ 1986)
18. Situation (from Yazoo’s ‘Upstairs At Eric’s’ 1982)
19. Whispering Your Name (Jules Shear cover) (from Essex 1994)
20. Love Resurrection (from ‘Alf’ 1984)
21. Don’t Go (from Yazoo’s ‘Upstairs At Eric’s’ 1982)

For our complete Alison Moyet photo gallery, please visit our sister music website, GigBill.

Alison Moyet Goes Disco at Margaret Court Arena

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