UK tour reviews

Added on Friday 09 September 2005, 09:09 (UTC)

The Daily Telegraph newspaper (UK) today (Friday) printed the following review of Jamiroquai's first night of the UK tour, together with a large photo - with the feature taking up half a page in this enourmous "broadsheet" newspaper!  The review reads:

Reliable funk – in a reliably daft hat Jamiroquai – Birmingham NEC, by Andrew Perry He may be the owner of a manor in Buckinghamshire and numerous flash motors, but Jay Kay appeared on the opening night of his first UK tour in three years, wearing a faded black tracksuit, emblazoned with his own logo.

The hat – and there had to be one of those – was even less auspicious, apparently made up of a dollop of ratty fur, with eight black Helix rulers sticking out of it, like a school playground version of an Indian head-dress.

The 35-year-old singer has been through many public trials in recent years – his split from Denise van Outen; frequent scraps with paparazzi; an arrest for driving at 110mph; problems with drugs – and one might have drawn the obvious conclusions from this decline in sartorial standards.  After all, Elle and GQ used to fete him as the world’s leading clothes-horse.

Kay, however, has held firm as one of Britain’s most reliable pop stars.  Though never critically adored, his band, Jamiroquai, have notched up six straight top-three albums in 13 years, and it wasn't hard to see why, as Kay’s unassuming five-piece band and three backing singers meted out a high-class-opening sequence, including the disco-jolly Canned Heat, the acid-jazzy Space Cowboy and then the sugary funk of his latest album's title track, Dynamite.  Between those three genre co-ordinates Jamiroquai expertly marked our their turf, updating it all for the post-rave generation with hi-tech production values, a vaguely druggy veneer and even vaguer politics.

Despite his petulant reputation, Kay was warm and engaging, and his adoring public lapped up his knock-kneed anti-choreography and cheeky patter.

Early on, he invited an unsuspecting birthday girl – a Virgin air stewardess, he claimed – to dance with him on stage during Cosmic Girl.  It was a measure of his easy-going appeal that the guest appeared not embarrassed or humiliated, but to thoroughly enjoy herself.  "Phew," Kay quipped afterwards, "economy will never be the same again."

Equally unexpected were the skull-crushing volume settings.  Those expecting an evening of dreamy Stevie Wonderisms were blasted from their reverie by a long stretch of bludgeoningly heavy funk on Feels Just Like It Should, Black Devil Car and Loveblind.

Under these hyper-loud arena conditions, Virtual Insanity was rendered a clanging, distorted mess, but the band repeatedly hit the spot with breezier glitterball fancies such as Time Won't Wait and Love Foolosophy.

In these moments, Kay shaped up as the people’s king of disco.

Scottish newspaper The Herald published a review of Thursday nights concert at the SECC in Glasgow, Scotland.  If you have found any printed reviews of the UK tour or wish to write any yourself, please feel free to post a comment along with this news item.

Credit: Samantha Yemm

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