Joan As Policewoman – Liberty Hall – Live Review – 13/07/19
Find other Selective Memory gigs here.
Despite the amazing amount of gigs in Dublin in the last few weeks, it was hard to ignore Joan As Policewoman (Joan Wasser) in the Liberty Hall. Her recent Joanthology album brought home just how talented an artist she is. The anthology has some of the best moments from her seven albums, dating back to her 2006 debut Real Life and including a few cover versions and previously unreleased tracks. The date in Liberty Hall was a solo, seated performance where she explored this work.
There was no support on the night and Joan arrived on stage at half eight. She sat down at the piano and without introduction started into ‘To be Lonely’. The lack of interaction with the audience was noticeable, as she is normally quite forthcoming on stage, After the first three tracks she moved to the guitar, and played ‘Forever and a Year’. She continued to change between the two instruments for the rest of the evening, with the only other sound being a drum machine, which she described as her ‘band’. She eventually broke the spell, introducing the song ‘We Don’t Own It’ by talking about Elliott Smith, who she described as a unique talent. She remembers playing on the same bill as Elliott and was amazed by his talent. This brief interlude changed the atmosphere in the room and she continued to talk and joke throughout the rest of the evening. With a section of the audience getting up to go to the bar after one song, she wondered were they playing musical chairs!
She talked of the song ‘What a World’ which she briefly played live before dropping it, thinking it wasn’t worth keeping. Some fans started to query when it would be recorded, and she eventually returned to it, reworking some sections for her most recent album. She also played a version of ‘Anyone’, which she dedicated to Rory, a fan in the audience who had requested it online. She then played ‘Real Life’ which she explained was about a man she fell in love with after meeting ‘for five minutes’, despite living several thousand miles apart! She thought if she could write the perfect song for him, their impossible love would happen but it never did. She offered to rework the song, changing the name mentioned, to see if it would work for anyone else!
Possibly the highlight of the night was her version of Prince’s classic ‘Kiss’, which she has substantially reworked and made her own. She finished the night with ‘The Magic’ before returning for a two song encore, with ‘The Ride’ and ‘Your Song’, which she dedicated to the audience. She then left the stage, only to reappear on the merch stand to have ‘a series of awkward conversations’ as she described it!
It must be quite intimidating to perform solo when you are used to having a band to fill out your sound. The performance did change a number of the songs, and you can’t help but miss the searing guitar solo on Christobel or any number of similar moments, but these stripped down versions did have their own charm. The small venue created an intimacy with the audience for a lovely evening of delicate songs. Her five-date tour of Ireland continues and should not be missed by any fan of her work.
Irish Tour –
13/07/2019 – Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin
14/07/2019 – Earagail Arts Festival, Letterkenny
15/07/2019 – Galway Arts Festival – Saint Nicholas’ Church
16/07/2019 – Live at St. Luke’s, Cork
17/07/2019 – Theatre Royal, Waterford
To Be Lonely
Forever and a Year
We Don’t Own It
Start of My Heart
To Be Loved
What a World
Kiss (Prince cover)