Alison Moyet @ The Danforth Music Hall – September 17, 2017

Alison_Moyet_346-0010-hinnerk-ruemenapfFor those of us 40 and above the 80s was a great time for music. It was during this time that a young Brit, Alison Moyet, formed a duo with ex of Depeche Mode Vince Clarke. They were known as Yazoo and had a few big dance hits. They only released two albums and then broke up. From then on Alison Moyet, the woman with the big deep voice, was a solo artist.

Since the 80s she has gone on to have a very successful career in the UK and parts of Europe. Not so much over in North America. Though there are still plenty of dedicated fans. That was on display in a packed Danforth Music Hall in Toronto last night. The tour she is on, The Other (title of her latest album) Tour, is her biggest in 30 years and is taking her all through Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and North America. The place was full and the crowd was dancing and vocal with Moyet, at times, having us time travel back to clubs in the 80s for a dance.

Though I don’t usually comment on an artist’s physical appearance because I feel it has nothing to do with the music, I will break that rule here. During her heyday Alison Moyet was a large woman. Now she is half that size and looking rather fit for a woman in her late 50s. While the pounds have disappeared the distinctive voice has not. The voice is still there and maybe even better live than it is on record/CD/mp3. It is a big weapon and she uses it to her advantage.

The show was great from the first moment to the last. Moyet is part of a dying breed of musicians who really knows how to set the mood. She accomplished this just by her face, movements of her body and some intricate lighting. That is all that is needed really. Take heed young artists! If you want your fans following your every move and truly listening to the music rather than craning to film you on their phones, set the mood and that is exactly what she did.

Alison_Moyet_346-0025-hinnerk-ruemenapf-1000x600Simplicity was how it was accomplished. The stage was rather minimalistic with just two band members in the background behind keyboards. Moyet was simply dressed in black from head to toe. It was almost a conscious move on her part, the sparseness and the black, to force you to hone in on her. With age comes wisdom. But I suspect that this cheeky Brit was born this way.

The setlist was made up of solo stuff as well as some classic Yazoo tunes. For the sake of transparency (Moyet joked about this herself) about halfway through the show a couple of songs after someone had yelled out “Invisible” from the darkness in the back of the room, she said she was not a wedding singer and does not do request. Furthering the revelation, she also said that she does not do “Invisible” live anymore as she finds that a 50-something woman whining about a man treating her badly to be a bore. This declaration earned her a generous amount of applause.

 

Other instances of knowing your audience showed the depth of the artist. She spoke several times about being an advocate of LGBTQ issues (joking that if gay men were not allowed into her shows she would be singing to basically an empty room) and having a non-sexual love with gay men. Without making it seem like she said the same thing in every city, Moyet applauded Canada for its openness and inclusivity.

As a true artist many of the songs sounded different from their recorded versions. Tweaking is part and parcel of being an artist, is it not? Anyways, some of the slower songs had been jazzed up a little and, in my opinion, benefited. That is not to lead you to believe that this was merely a dance party. Plenty of different musical styles were set up for us including rock, jazz, pop, blues, and dance. Equally comfortable in all, her voice allows that.

Totally likable, she chatted often between songs showing her intelligence and wit. But we were there to hear that voice and dance and she did not disappoint. The sound was great and her voice strong. Not only is it strong and deep, but she has complete control over it. At times is was shivers down your back inducing. A beautiful show that made it very clear why she has had an enduring career.

Setlist:

  1. April 10th (recorded spoken word piece)
  2. Only You (Yazoo song)
  3. Don’t Go (Yazoo song)

Encore:

21. Love Resurrection

22. Situation (Yazoo song)

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