Jessie J 5th December 2018
Location: Palladium, Cologne
Travel: British Airways
Hotel: Motel One Waidmarkt
Favourite song of the artist: Personal
Least favourite song of the artist: Real Deal
Favourite lyrics: “London clouds are crying but I’m dancing in the pouring rain. Grown up life is to learn not to fall apart” (I believe in love)
Favourite song live: Nobody’s perfect (with backing vocals), Not my ex
Favourite quote of the night: “Fuck me, now I shut everything down!” (Sound technician after the samples and effects failed and Jessie J first decided she wanted to do everything acoustic. Then 3 songs later she was like “If you have it and it works, play it”)
Why this artist? After the Royal Albert Hall it was a spur of the moment thing. I just wanted to see the last show of the tour and it was on my way back home anyway, so why not?
Then again, the moment I arrived in Cologne I remembered why I despise this city so much: Their public transport system. I have never seen such a f*cked up public transport anywhere. The trains are always overcrowded and old. If you travel with luggage it’s a complete nightmare, because elevators never work or simply don’t exist. Without an app you have no idea which way to go, because you can’t find a map of the tube anywhere. If you accidentally get to the wrong track you have to walk through half the station to get on the other side. Same goes for connections. Just forget it, you can never reach them, because going from track 1 to 2 takes about 10 minutes. Then the ticket machines never work. Either they don’t take bills or they pretend to take credit cards, just to say ‘error’ or simply not work at all. Once you finally made it on the correct train you better count the stops, because there will be no announcements and if there are, they will most likely be incorrect. Seriously, the public transport is the sole reason why I don’t like this town. But uhm, back to the topic.
The concert started right on time with the support artist Naaz, a young singer from the Netherlands. She was good, but her appreciation for Kanye West, or ‘Ye’ as he calls himself now, made me like her a bit less. Yes, there is a difference between politics and music, but I can’t help but feel that way.
JessieJ went on after a short change over and started her set, like in London with her prayer ‘Oh Lord’, ‘Think about that’ and then ‘Do it it like a dude’. However during ‘Do it like a dude’ the technical problems started and it turned out that the samples weren’t playing as they should or not at all. The technicians behind me started cursing and trying to fix it, the talkback was getting more and more heated and then JessieJ decided on stage to just play the set acoustic. Best decision ever, even if you could see the slight panic on the musicians faces for a second. Without cues the drummer has a very hard job, because he has to play very tight and lead the band. JessieJ later revealed that it was the drummer’s first and only gig with them, so kudos to him for pulling it off!
Being forced to play acoustic was, of course, not what they wanted, but Jessie J and her band pulled it off and I totally think it made the concert more authentic and therefor better.
What didn’t help the concert at all though, was the costume changes, which basically meant minute(s) of simply nothing. As there was no screen, the videos didn’t play and because the equipment was acting up, neither did the sound snippets. At first the band played a bit, but then there was just an awkward silence, when everybody started checking their phones or started talking to the others about what in the world was going on. Most of the audience (as shown in JessieJ’s own poll) hadn’t seen the show before and for them it must have been especially bizarre. Two girls standing next to me were quite confused about it and when I told them that there were supposed to be videos with voiceovers they understood it a bit more, but still found it as annoying as I did.
As during the Rita Ora concert when the band was not being visible, I asked myself why they didn’t think more of the audience, leave out the costume changes and two minutes of nothing and just played the show. JessieJ has shown before that it is possible, so why this mess? If the show doesn’t work in the venue, then leave the show aside and give the audience the music they came for. They didn’t come for 4 two minute long breaks just to see another outfit. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded if she had shown up in trainers, jeans and a jumper, as long as the atmosphere wouldn’t have been interrupted.
Vocally JessieJ is still the best out there that I have ever heard. That said, I don’t think that was the best concert I have seen of her. And the technical difficulties were certainly not the reason. The attempt to pull off a show by costume changes only and leave out the other show elements did not work. The songs and vocals were as amazing as ever, though.
Fun facts and random thoughts: You remember that last concert post about Jessie J from the Royal Albert Hall? I posted that the day of this concert. I think I kind of jinxed it. Had two backing singers miraculously appeared on stage, all of my wishes would have come true. There were no videos and voiceovers, she had to change a lot quicker, the samples and effects didn’t work and they had to play it all acoustic. Literally the only thing that didn’t come true were the backing singers. And the amazing thing was that, of course, they could pull it off. She even added two more songs just because they had to play it all live anyway. So, please, for all future shows: Don’t change 4 times and show videos, leave out the samples as much as possible and bring your backing ladies back so you can sing it all live. It sounds better anyway!
Do it again?
Yes, but I think now I will have to apply the ‘Rita Ora rule’ to Jessie J as well: Either go and watch a show at a large arena/hall, or watch a small intimate gig in a smaller location. But no more wannabe shows in small locations. It just doesn’t work, people.