Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Been a long time, been a long time now

July 13, 2008

 
Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke
Photo : Andreu Dalmau 2008

I’m not a big believer in the whole idea of “unfinished business,” particularly that of the psychological variety. But there is admittedly an air of this hanging around Yaz, the pop duo comprised of Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke who burned fast and bright for less than two years in the early 1980s only to leave a huge mark on electronic dance music. I should hope they still see significant residual checks from this activity considering how much these handful of songs continue to show up on the radio and elsewhere years later. Unlike more typical reunion or flashback tours, the current Yaz shows in the U.S., of which the third show wrapped up here in L.A. on Friday, are somewhat unique in that the band never allowed themselves the opportunity to tour here outside of New York before. So, now 25 or so years later, they are back, older and wiser no doubt, in support of a new box set of their recordings avec DVD.

At least on Friday, time seemed to have treated them well. The original block-rocking beats are still there but in more substantial forms than their sometimes thinner edged precursors. Of course, both of these artists are performing after significant post-Yaz careers, which also must be taken into account. Clarke’s years of papier-maché gay disco with Erasure thankfully recede into the mist with Moyet’s far more substantial vocals. There was a huge and rather impressive light and video element to the production that was a plus and suggested that the pair had decided that, if they were going to do this, they were going to put some real effort into it.

But most of all, it looked like they were having a blast. Moyet glowed throughout as if amazed that this were really happening. I think the audience shared some of that amazement as well. I can’t recall the last time I heard a crowd scream so long and loudly. I would think that it’s just my getting older, but looking around I seemed to fit the average age for the room. Apparently the very long wait for this show to happen here in this city was as exciting off as it was on stage. It was a great show. Sure, there were no surprises, and you can predict the set list in your head with no effort, but it was more than just nostalgia. Far from seeming like another tour milking old history for dollars on the road, these Yaz concerts, which will continue throughout America over the next two weeks, are something else. It was a great show. Whether or not it’s unfinished business I guess is up to you.

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Comments:

Nice review! I went also. I agree whole heartedly with your review of Moyet seeming to have a blast. I said the same thing to my husband when on the second song the audience stood up cheering. I'm linking this review from my Good Housekeeping column due to come out on Friday. I hope that's okay. Great one!
Clarke’s years of papier-maché gay disco with Erasure

Hahaha.

My favorite thing that Vince Clarke has ever done was leave Depeche Mode, which allowed (forced?) Martin Gore to take up the songwriting slack.

Glad you enjoyed the show, it seems Yaz avoided being a total nostalgia trip (see: Echo & The Bunnymen in 1997, for a particularly horrid example).
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