Grace Jones – Live Review – The Piece Hall, Halifax

Grace Jones The Piece Hall Live Review

By Steve Crabtree, June 2024

As far as music performances at The Piece Hall go this summer, there’s a really high bar. We’re a couple of weeks into the Live At The Piece Hall season, and it seems that whichever group or artist follows next has a standard to hit.

Well, Jamaican-American actress, singer and performer Grace Jones stepped up on Saturday night, to put herself right up there amongst the best shows that this venue has ever seen.

Grace Jones The Piece Hall Live Review

“The diva, and the Queen”

Bathed in warm sunshine, the Piece Hall looked its beautiful self as Stone Foundation opened the night with a set that lasted over an hour, before clearing the stage for a set-up that was going to be a bit different to what we normally get here.  9pm edged closer, but Grace Jones’ entrance was delayed for a few minutes due to a reveal curtain dropping before anyone had got on stage, but at 9.05pm, some magic happened.

There was Grace Jones: the Diva, and the Queen. At the top of a staircase on The Piece Hall stage, masked up, bellowing the words to the moody ‘Nightclubbing’ as her opener. Imposing, the crowds were either looking on in awe or cheering in adulation.  What a way to open your show.

We were in for some fantastic music over the next 90 minutes too, with newer tune ‘The Key’ sounding outstanding. ‘Private Life’ and ‘Demolition Man’ were lapped up by this crowd too, who laughed as she got Halifax mixed up with Manchester, before quickly correcting herself.  Believe me, Grace – Manchester has many things, but it doesn’t have a Piece Hall!

Grace Jones The Piece Hall Live Review

“Dazzling people”

Fans had flocked to Halifax from far and wide to see her. There was an array of age groups, genders, and cultures who’d arrived to see an icon at work. Great to see, too – as were some of the outfits on show. It was a dazzling evening, with some dazzling people all giving something to this Piece Hall atmosphere that I can’t stop talking about. (Sampled it yet? If not, try it. You’ll like it.)

Backed by a great band, Grace Jones’ costume changes (occasionally taking a bit of time!) added the extra spectacular to her performance which took show-woman-ship to another level.  In fact, that’s her all over.  This diva thing she’s got going on is great. She brings humour with it, and she’s likeable.  The jury has always been out as to whether her infamous slap-attack on Russel Harty was tongue-in-cheek or not, but after seeing her in action I’d like to think it’s all a brilliant act.

Her outfits, the lights and the sparkles played a huge part in her stage presence. You simply couldn’t take your eyes off her, and couldn’t help but love everything she was doing. I’m not sure we’ll get to see someone work a crowd as well as she this summer.

Grace Jones The Piece Hall Live Review

“Hula-hooping in her heels”

The tunes were sensational. It was a small set list, but in her 90 minute show we were treated to My Jamaican Guy’ and ‘William’s Blood’, before a bit of ‘Amazing Grace’ and a fantastic version of Roxy Music’s ‘Love Is The Drug’.

Towards the end of the main show, she brought out those two tunes that everyone knows. Big hit ‘Pull Up To My Bumper’ made sure everyone in The Piece Hall was dancing, and following that came the enormous ‘Slave To The Rhythm; together with a 78 year old Grace Jones hula-hooping in her heals for the extended version of the songs entirety. Not only that, she sounded superb.

We weren’t expecting an encore. Neither was The Piece Hall, as the lights came up after leaving the stage. But they went down again as she returned on her own to perform ‘La vie en rose’ and ‘I’ve Seen That Face Before’.

She’d been down to meet the crowd, and it seemed like she didn’t want to leave. I’ll be completely honest, pre-show I didn’t really know what to expect of Grace Jones. I couldn’t see this being one to live long in the memory, but she blew me away along with the thousands of others.

Just shows what I know…!

Images: Cuffe & Taylor


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