“you boys are the show!” That’s what iconic, timeless art-pop fusionist Grace Jones told the audience in West Hollywood Park on Saturday when she headlined the Outloud @ WeHo Pride festival in Los Angeles. “I could just look at you and not sing a word! But then I would be crucified.”
Untrue words have never been spoken. First, Jones could have sat quietly on stage in front of a canvas of slow-drying paint, and the adoring audience would still have been transfixed. And second, while the Outloud crowd came to beat in their Saturday best, all sequins and rainbows and glitter, that was nothing to Jones’s laymen. The androgynous chanteuse’s many rapidly rotating headpieces, all dutifully handed to her (along with the occasional goblet of “communion wine”) by her adorable followers, including a Michael Schmidt-imagined spiky sculpture of neon rods that seemed to float, like DNA- helix, around her famous chiseled features; a rhinestone-embellished Sally Bowles bowler hat; a mid-length Aphrodite wig made of real gold leaf; a plumed equestrian helmet; a Philip Treacy royal wedding hat and a “little Keith Haring church suit” for the aptly titled “Amazing Grace”; and a red, gold, and green striped headdress/caftan fit for a queen during ‘My Jamaican Guy’. And these space-age chapeaus were all paired with a molded suede corset, thigh-high stiletto boots, and a thong revealing that Jones’ signature Haring body paint really did cover her entire body.
Oh and Than there was the last moment when the post-disco diva, who turned an incredible 75 last month, spun her biggest hit, the Trevor Horn-produced “Slave to the Rhythm,” while spinning a hula-hoop around her corseted torso. She never missed a beat or note, staying true to that song’s “keep it up, keep it up” chorus by never dropping that hoop for the song’s more than six minutes, despite being had been playing breathlessly for nearly an hour. .
And there was also a rare celebrity sighting, a true queen-respecting-queens moment, when Jones’s equally statuesque and high-cheeked old girlfriend, Brigitte Nielsen (Jones dated Nielsen’s Rocky IV co-star Dolph Lundgren in the early ’80s), was — quite easily — seen “grooving” in the VIP section.
While Jones’ Outloud set – which took place on a main stage featuring previous performances by Australian dream pop band Cub Sport, aughts electro-rock provocateur Santigold, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars groundbreaking trans winner Kylie Sonique Love, american idol alumnus Rayvon Owen and masked country crooner Orville Peck – didn’t boast the massive production of Jones’ other recent live tour de forces (including her previous LA-area concert at the Hollywood Bowl last September), her formidable presence was more than enough. In fact, her delightful self-mockery alone would have been worth the price of admission, and the relatively scaled-down presentation actually made her seem a bit fewer formidable.
Jones staggered relatively in her six-inch heels, complaining that she couldn’t see her feet as one of her portly gentleman crew members helped her down the stairs. When she and another assistant struggled to change hats with her hair getting in the way, Jones funnily enough imagined out loud that one day she would impulsively chop off her dreadlocks on stage and throw them into the audience. She even commented, “I need a little more ass!” – does a quick round of effortless squats as she bangs her bare, paint-scribbled ass on a podium riser – before performing the penultimate classic of her set, “Pull Up to My Bumper”, while riding on a security guard’s shoulders , victory lap style , across the West Hollywood Park field.
Grace Jones’ short but stunning Outloud @ WeHo Pride set list is below. The festival, which kicked off Friday with Idina Menzel, Tinashe and Jessie Ware, wraps up on Sunday with Carly Rae Jepsen, Passion Pit, Princess Nokia and more.
“My Jamaican Husband”
“Love Is the Drug”
“Pull Up to the Bumper”
“Slave to the Rhythm”
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