Grace Jones @ Hollywood Bowl
The Grace Jones performance shot me out of my seat, crackers and cheese flying, to a galaxy far, far away and I’ve only just managed to float back down to earth to write about it. Grace Jones. It’s rare to experience a show where each moment surpasses the last. And it was all just Grace Jones, stomping from here to there, howling and rhyming and chanting, singing and mumbling backstage between songs as she changed hats or jackets, crawling, posing, smiling, and hula hooping for something like fifteen minutes without missing a breath.
Not a huge production, aside from two dancers that emerged a couple times, one for pole dancing, and an amazing six person band heavy on percussion, and two singers, mostly draped in shadows. Jones gripped the audience the moment she emerged in a silver skull face and black feather crown, with body painted head to toe in black and white like a moving, grooving, topless voodoo doll. She sang, “Nightclubbing, nightclubbing, we’re an ice machine …”
Supposedly she is human, even if she moves like a magical chameleon on a runway. Supposedly she is 5″9, but walks like she’s 7″2, commander of the Amazons, raised by drag queens, and has more teeth, the more to chew your mind like a strawberry twizzler.
“You gonna learn what I love and I hate and the rest in between,” she said. Among the many accessories she added to her naked body for each song, some highlights included a shiny tall pompadour, a mirrorball bowler hat, a thick, bouncy straw skirt, a giant black chef hat (worn during the hula hooping), a smear of red paint, and a strap-on penis painted the same color as her body so that if you were too mesmerized with her face or her feet, you didn’t notice until three-quarters through “My Jamaican Guy” that there seemed to be an extra limb dangling between her legs. A snippet of her excellent, surreal banter around this song: “But why he’s bad boy? Now I gotta kill that motherfucker. Boy charming like the devil. So I gotta tell him off in a song.”
Grace Jones. I mean, I understand why she told us at one point, “Don’t suck my nipple so much,” because we were all, I don’t know, 17,000 of us, sucking at that marvelous small floppy boob for her sweet alien powerade. This brings us back to the notion of Grace Jones being, in fact, human. She is, and that should make us feel good about ourselves. Because if you think about it, in some alternate reality, I am Grace Jones. You are Grace Jones. My grandma is Grace Jones. We are all Grace Jones, and this makes life and being human a lot better.
At the end of the night, she said “I love you, and I fuck you” as she exited the stage. I was perplexed for a while, pondering the meaning. Did she mean “fuck you” like fuck all you little dots in the darkness, or did she mean “fuck you” like I just fucked your mind like you’ve never been fucked before, now go smoke a cigarette and take a nap? I don’t mind either way.