Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin, Feb 14th, 2001
She doesn't say a word. Between songs Alison Goldfrapp just stalks the stage. Petulant, distracted, self-conscious, she looks like she's been waiting for a bus in the rain for hours. Either that or she has lost her keys and can't think where to look next.
A guest vocalist on Tricky's 'Maxinquaye' and Orbital's 'Snivalisation' albums, Goldfrapp is here to perform songs from her own solo album, 'Felt Mountain' - a darkly cinematic blend of trip hop style atmospherics, drama, opera and film soundtracks. Backed by her small band and standing before a calm, snowcaked, sun-drenched forest backdrop, she looks permanently troubled. It can't be easy being Ms Goldfrapp.
Opening with 'Lovely Head', with its eerie tones Goldfrapp keep the audience entranced for the entire set. It's only when you experience Goldfrapp live that you realize what a powerful and haunting voice Alison Goldfrapp has. Taking on the air of the tragic heroine with her soft, sensual and, at times, totally deranged vocals she manages to keep the audience completely spellbound, the lack of banter only adding to the air of mystery surrounding the band.
What follows is an incredible set which combines the shadows of Portishead, the lush strings of Massive Attack and Michael Nyman and the vast expanseJames Bond themes, Leone soundtracks with the intimate bar room sounds of Billie Holiday, opera and the cabaret-style drama of Shirley Bassey.
Though not particularly warm or open with the audience, Goldfrapp is a spellbinding performer. The low-slung, Barry Adamson-style groove of 'Human' is joined with some lines from the 80s favourite, 'Let's Get Physical', she even manages to make this asexual, plastic song sound extremely erotic. Causing some male members of the crowd to shift their position quickly. The surreal, twisted menace and breathy vocals of 'Pilots' and the wide, forever spaces 'Utopia' are among the highlights of the set.
Leaving the stage for only a few moments the band return to end the evening with the encore of 'Horse Tears', a haunting melody that has Alison strangely wailing "My horse is crying!"
Goldfrapp shuffles to the side of the stage and is escorted away, a comforting arm around her hunched, shy shoulders. What is certain here tonight is that everyone present has witnessed something very special indeed. It was great for us Alison, how was it for you?