Thursday, September 26, 2019

Massive Attack @ Radio City Music Hall (9/26/2019)


This show was part of Massive Attack's tour to commemorate 20 years (well, 21) since the release of their landmark album Mezzanine.  The show had actually been rescheduled from the original date in March.  A pre-show email advised guests to arrive when the doors opened 60 minutes before the 8pm "strict" start time, as there would be no opener and the security lines would likely be long.  Well, they were right about the long lines, but it only took about 10 minutes to get through.  I was at my seat a few minutes before 8pm, but waited about an hour before Massive Attack took the stage a couple of minutes before 9pm.  It was somewhat understandable since the (sold out) seats weren't even half filled at 8pm, but still annoying to arrive on time and then have to wait an hour.

And the show itself was, to be honest, somewhat disappointing.  I figured that they would play all the songs off Mezzanine (they did), but also assumed that they would include a variety of songs from their other albums.  Instead, they played a bunch of covers that I didn't care much for.  So basically...half the show was good, and half of it wasn't.

I will give them props for including the major original guest vocalists from Mezzanine: Horace Andy and Elizabeth Fraser.  Also, the backing band (two drummers and all) did a pretty solid of recreating the (likely mostly originally electronic) music live; though they did overindulge in some wankery a few times.  I think 3D was the only one (besides the backing band) who stayed on stage the whole time; Daddy G and the guest vocalists seemed to be only out there when they needed to be.  The light show and screens were impressive, though often overly strobe-y.  The videos had a techno-dystopia theme in addition to being unabashedly anti right-wing politics (and Trump).  The show ended somewhat abruptly with no encore after a little more than 90 minutes.  The highlight of the show for me was clearly "Teardrop" with Elizabeth on vocals.

Overall, I'm glad I saw them live at least once.  But I wish they played more Massive Attack tunes.

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Rating: 4.0/5

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