Reflections on Suede @The Forum, Joe Jackson @The Palladium

I’ve just had two nights of gigs, Suede followed by Joe Jackson.   Reflections…
Suede were great fun. Playing the whole of their new album behind a screen projecting the film they’ve commissioned to accompany it was a neat trick… it actually worked… in as much as it made the whole crowd listen to their new album in it’s entirety (and there were some special moments when the lights picked them out in their positions, as ghostly images in their own film)… although it was easy to forget they were there at times.
Not so in the second – greatest hits set – where they rocked like it was 1994, Brett Anderson still crowd-surfing, strutting, microphone swinging like he did when I last saw them 20 years ago. The crowd (mostly in their 40s like me) loved every minute of it, but I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering how despite me aging at least 20 years in the last 20 years (and about to have knee surgery), they don’t seem to have aged a day (Brett still sliding across the stage and going down on his knees).  That’s not fair, I thought they were supposed to be the Rock Stars with the hard lives.
Joe Jackson, on the other hand, has aged, but gracefully.  He was on imperious form as always… the best thing about a Joe Jackson gig being that he always has a different line-up of musicians and picks the appropriate songs for the band and arranges them appropriately.  So you always here slightly different versions.
This one was a quartet with electric guitar, but just as the musicians go off one at a time in Slow Song, they also came on in stages, Joe playing solo for four songs, before being joined by Graham Maby on bass who started playing the riff for Is She Really Going Out with Him (Joe feigned surprise), which was then played by the two of them (and the crowd).  The relationship between these two guys is wonderful to watch, as is the fact that all four men sang and seemed to take such pleasure in the whole experience.
Joe’s introductions to the new songs is a wonderful insight into songwriting, where the idea comes from, and nobody can write a bridge or modulate a pop song like Joe.
He was completely humbled that 37 years after his first album he can still sell out the Palladium, and he should be.. as well as proud.  Without much acclaim for the last twenty years or so, he’s been doing it consistenly and doing it well.  A Joe Jackson gig is always a fantastic experience and this was no different.