Monday, November 25, 2002

Marianne Faithfull is a goddess, true rock royalty. I've been a massive fan for years, but I'd never seen her in concert, till last night. Marcus's friend Caroline knows someone who works at the Astoria, and he put us on the guest list, giving us free VIP seats. We sat at one of the three empty tables in the VIP area. "But they've got 'reserved' signs on," I protested. "Yes, they're reserved for us, darling," said Caroline, trying to convince herself of this.

Just before the show started, a large group of fashion types came in and grabbed the two remaining tables. There weren't quite enough seats for them, and they glared at us - we'd obviously nicked their table. When I say "fashion types", I really mean it:

"Look," said Marcus, "that's Kate."
"Kate who?"
"Moss, of course. And there's Stella."
"No, McCartney. And Sophie."
"Oh yes, and I recognise those eyebrows: Meg Matthews?"

God, what a rude lot. They're supposed to be Marianne's friends, but they talked, loudly, throughout the concert, pausing only to shout out "Marianne! We love you!" at the end of every song. The young trendy types are queuing up to be associated with Ms Faithfull, hoping some of her credibility will rub off on them. Her new album features collaborations with Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn, Beck and Billy Corgan.

Marianne looked great in a dark tailored man's suit and flouncy white shirt. When singing, she was regal and commanding, shooting her cuffs and opening her arms in grand gestures. But between songs, she seemed nervous, and as for her dancing: just don't. During guitar solos, she attempted a rockist shuffle that put me in mind of a nice old lady weighed down with Peter Jones bags trying to get to her seat on the number 11 bus.

Marianne Faithfull is a survivor, with a voice that tells of years of abuse. She sounded fantastic, exactly like she does on her records. She played old favourites like "The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan" and "Times Square", plus six or so tracks off her new album. The crowd roared every time she spat out filthy lines: "Every time I see your dick, I see her cunt in my bed." or "If Marianne was born a man she'd show you all, a way to piss your life against the wall. Go ahead why don't you leave me to these thugs ? And creeps who want to fuck a nun on drugs."

She did "Working Class Hero" by Stella's dad's mate, and a new song by Will Oldham. She didn't perform "As Tears Go By", which was a real pity, especially as Anita Pallenberg had just come to sit next to us. Highlight of the evening was probably "Song For Nico".

A fantastic night out.

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