Saturday August 7, 2010 / 8:00pmJoan Armatrading in Concert
Assigned at Box Office (Orchestra Rows 9-21)
300 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802
How was your experience?
Yes Joan was in fine form , if not quite reaching the peaks of her earlier years playing to a crowd of 60% gay women, 15% gay men, and 25% straight couples. She mixed it up, with numbers from her last two albums sharing time with a healthy dollop of fan favorites including Me Myself I, Show Some Emotion, I Love it When You Call Me Names, You Rope You Tie Me, All the Way from America and (in the only time she picked up an acoustic guitar all evening) Love and Affection. Yes, she was slinging an electric axe all night to highlight that new material. My only problem with the concert is that it seemed so rote, so programmed, down to the 'impromptu' comments like "Oh so that's your favorite, eh" after Love and Affection, which she had just said a few days ago in Denver, and the hokey "Best Dress On" callback contest which just seemed tedious. Gone are the days when she could just stand in front of the crowd and smile, and listen to the adulation for 5 minutes at a time. Even the traditional singalong to Willow at the end was sounding a bit weak, so she ends with a more upbeat, crowd-pleasing Drop the Pilot.