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25th June 2022

Live Review: Macy Gray and the California Jet Club at Albert Hall

Theatre Editor Jay Darcy reviews Macy Gray and the California Jet Club at Albert Hall
Live Review: Macy Gray and the California Jet Club at Albert Hall
Photo: Jay Darcy @ The Mancunion.

After five music events the week prior (three of them over consecutive nights), I promised myself, no more until Diana Ross. As with the vow the titular Desperate Housewives made, in the final episode, to stay friends forever – “it was a promise made in all sincerity, but, sadly, it was not meant to be.” In other words, how the hell could I turn down the chance to cover (and interview) the one and only Macy Gray?!

This tour is not headlined by Macy Gray alone, but, rather, Macy Gray and the California Jet Club – her long-time touring band who she is currently recording and releasing music with.

Macy was a little under the weather, but this just added to the raspiness of her voice – her distinctive raspy voice became even raspier! The biggest effect that her sickness had on the show was the setlist: during our interview, Macy told us that they had to move some things around because of the setlist.

Indeed, during the show, I realised that some songs were missing and/or performed in a different order. Most noticeably, the whopping five-song encore was down to 3 songs, with ‘Sweet Baby’ (featuring Erykah Badu) being cut from the setlist. This was Macy’s fourth consecutive UK top 40 hit – it just missed out on the top 20 – so it was a shame to not see her perform it live.

The setlist included all of her other solo hits – but none of the hits she featured on (Fatboy Slim, Common, Black Eyed Peas). Before listening to her music ahead of the gig, I was only familiar with her signature hit, ‘I Try’ – but it’s still great seeing artists sing their hits, even if you do not know them!

Macy might have been ill, but you’d never have been able to tell if she had not told us. She gave it her absolute all. She really gets into the groove, selling her soul to the sound. At times, it felt like she was not performing to the audience but, rather, making marvellous music and allowing us to watch. It felt like we were being let into Macy’s mind – mad and magical – for a couple of hours. It was an honour.

The best part of the set was the opening of the second part of the show. It began with ‘The Disco Song’ (the third single from Macy Gray and the California Jet Club – and my favourite), which lead itself to a cover of Sir Rod Stewart CBE‘s ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’ and ended on Macy’s own ‘Sexual Revolution.’

The last song of the main set, before the encore, was ‘I Try.’ Very fitting, given the opening line of the chorus is, “I try to say goodbye”. Whilst she waved goodbye during this line and left the stage for a short while, sure enough, she returned for an encore.

Whilst this was an incredible performance, Macy never properly sang the chorus. Rather, she sang over the chorus – much like she does (like many artists do) on the final chorus of the recorded version of the song. It would have been nice for her to fully sing the chorus.

Praise must also be given to the California Jet Club – luscious backing vocals and brilliant instrumental music that complimented Macy’s vivacious vocals.

After the show, we were invited backstage to interview Macy in her (unsurprisingly funky) dressing room.

Macy Gray and the California Jet Club are on the road around the UK, with The Reset Tour, until later this month.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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