Alison Moyet is perhaps my all-time favorite vocalist. Her deep, smokey, sultry voice has been a part of my life since the early ’80s. In fact, she’s the inspiration for this blog. I saw her and Vince Clarke’s Reconnected Tour in 2008 and then Alison solo in October of the same year. Both concerts went undocumented and I decided then and there to start writing. Five years later, the distinguished lady from Essex is back with The Minutes, her best material in years. I’m fortunate to live in one of three U.S. cities where she chose to bring her tour.
It was a transformative experience at the Manhattan Center Ballroom. She’s different now than she was five years ago. Wiser, more settled, confident and happier. My friend Christopher and I pondered why she has such a strong gay following and the answer was easy: she’s experienced the pain of living like so many of us. At 52, she seems to have figured it out and I want to go there. The Minutes and the song ‘Filigree’ is her loving embrace of middle age and the acknowledgement that joy and happiness come in the fleeting minutes of every day life. If we don’t wait for them, look for them or if we jump too soon, we miss them.
I personally found joy and happiness in every one the minutes she performed, starting with ‘Horizon Flame,’ ‘Nobody’s Diary,’ which she wrote when she was 16-years-old and ‘Ordinary Girl’ from Raindancing. Alison talked about staying engaged with her old songs so ‘not to be doing karaoke‘ which I appreciated; therefore, a lot of her classic songs were performed with new arrangements including ‘Is This Love’ and ‘Only You.’ She delivered on the theme of The Minutes on new singles ‘When I Was Your Girl’ and ‘Changeling.’ And she went ‘black, black, black‘ as she described on ‘Winter Kills’ and ‘This House’ with the latter ending with the dramatic ‘it’s cold outside!‘ before the stage itself went black.
This brings me to lighting design. Whoever was responsible for lighting… bravo! He or she clearly knows that Alison is not just a fine singer, she’s a powerful storyteller and the lighting enhanced her stories on ‘Apple Kisses,’ ‘All Signs of Life’ and the incredible ‘Right as Rain.’ As much as I love her new material, my heart raced fueled by nostalgic memories of my life in the early ’90s when she performed ‘Falling’ and ‘Whispering Your Name’ from the album Essex. Both songs harken life in the ’90s when it was exciting, confusing and sometimes painful all at the same time. I was thrilled this record was well represented, but if only she had sang ‘Dorothy.’ She rounded out the show with hits ‘Love Resurrection,’ ‘Situation,’ ‘All Cried Out’ and ‘Don’t Go.’ I left the show introspectively satisfied, pondering the minutes I had just experienced and reveling in the spirit of this extraordinary girl. My instinct is to ask Alison not to wait another five years before releasing new music, but I realize I would be jumping too soon. So I’m just going to turn to The Minutes and enjoy the gift we have today.