Marie Presley Rocks Sydney!!!
Nigel Patterson, 19 March 2004)
day The King's daughter came to town. And guess what?....
Lisa Marie Presley can sing, LMP can rock.
a great gig Lisa has! Chairman of EPE, celebrated part of
rock & roll royalty and a gifted, throaty voiced singer-songwriter.
The way Lisa's album, 'To Whom It May Concern', transferred
to a live performance context was very impressive. Many of
the album tracks assumed a stronger presence "live", and really
a measure of Lisa's considerable talent she was equally at home
belting out hard edged contemporary rock numbers as she was perched
on a stool delivering a poignant acoustic ballad. Lisa came across
as a confident young woman with considerable charisma, a tell it
like it is personality (the Denton interview was mentioned) and
an artist willing to reveal herself to her audience through the
potent imagery evoked by the autobiographical lyrics of her self-written
out songs included Lisa's only Australian single, the Top 40 hit,
'Lights Out', a contemporary rocker infused with a touch
of the blues, and Lisa's powerful delivery on 'S.O.B.', the
title of which refers to Lisa herself. The heartfelt ballad, 'Nobody
Noticed It', was delivered with an emotional charge while To
'To Whom It May Concern' with its searing lyrics was powerfully
sang several new songs including her great encore performance of
the Aretha Franklin recording, 'Baby I Love You' (apparently
the first song Lisa attempted to record, at the age of 21) and 'I
Will Figure It Out', a potent, pounding rocker. If the latter
song is Lisa's new single (due out in the US in June), it is a great
Factor #1: in the flesh it is striking how much Lisa resembles
her father. Not only her facial looks but there is an eerie similarity
in her movements: the swiveling hips, the curled lip, and the raised
eyebrows. OK, it wasn't full on 'Elvis the Pelvis', but those seminal
elements that distinguished her father at the beginning of his career
were very apparent in his daughter.
split-personality of the full house was significant. Watching the
motionless faces of many of the older, rock & roll fans who grew
up on the music of her father you could sense they were collectively
thinking: "What is this all about, why am I here?"
was a case of the more things change the more they remain the same.
I had visions of 50 years ago when the parents of the day were thinking
exactly the same thing as they watched their offspring celebrating
a young, up and coming singer with shaky hips. For the younger demographic
it was a case of being part of the contemporary music scene in the
year 2004. They screamed, they yelled, they sang and they danced
along with Ms. Presley. They knew the lyrics to all her songs and
they also knew about her life as they periodically engaged in friendly
banter with the star and waved placards celebrating their idol.
backing group are excellent. Four guitarists (including acoustic),
a frenetic drummer and a talented keyboardist. Early in her career
there were criticisms that Lisa was too self-conscious. Well, a
year is a long time in the live music business as a relaxed, confident
singer joked and interacted with an appreciative audience.
merchandise available on the night was two Lisa t-shirts and two
Lisa baseball style caps. One older lady examined the 'LMFP' t-shirt
quizzically and then asked the girls behind the counter "What does
the 'F' stand for?" Those around her smiled. There is no doubt Lisa
Presley has a sense of humor and real attitude.
patrons were disappointed that there was no concert program.
was hardly surprising given Lisa's "no Elvis" policy.
this stage of her career any program would be light on without some
mention of her family history. Lisa Presley is wise to insist on
her "no Elvis" policy. This will optimise her chances of achieving
musical longevity, unlike the offspring of other famous musicians:
eg. Julian and Sean Lennon and Ziggy Marley.
without radio airplay and promotion down under, her future tours
are likely to play to smaller audiences as the novelty factor motivating
many of her father's fans to attend will have been satisfied in
Factor #2: (at least in Perth) there was a meet & greet, but
true to Lisa's policy of keeping her career separate from her fathers',
it was by invitation only…no Elvis fans allowed.
Campbell was a solid choice as Lisa's support act. Backed only by
a guitarist and keyboardist, Campbell's fast paced repertoire was
the perfect accompaniment to prime the audience for the headline
artist. Campbell, like LMP, writes a lot of his own material and
is not afraid to confront and reveal the angst and torment of his
personal life and relationships. This was apparent on a great song
about his family, tellingly titled 'Secrets and Lies'.
her familial predecessor on stage, Lisa's concert was relatively
short, a shade over one hour. However, it was performed effortlessly
with Lisa's powerful, husky vocals shining. As on her album the
lyrics to most songs were drowned out by her backing, but this mirrors
many other hard rock performances by major artists. I also seem
to recall a similar criticism being leveled at that swivel hipped
singer in the mid '50s when people couldn't understand the words
to 'Heartbreak Hotel'.
any case isn't it all about the beat, that pounding, integrated
crescendo of guitar, drums and keyboard?
would Elvis have thought of Lisa's music and performance? Elvis
was known for his eclectic musical interests and I can't help but
think that wherever he is today he is watching his daughter and
far Lisa can ascend the pyramid shaped ladder of rock & roll success
remains to be seen. However, on the basis of her first performance
in Sydney, Lisa offered strong credentials to suggest there is a
place for her alongside distinctive artists of the calibre of Sheryl
Crow and Bonnie Tyler. Elvis sang 'My Way', Lisa showed she too
can do it her way. LMP
has a bright future with her own, individual brand of hard edged,
LMFP's first Sydney concert was a polished, professional concert
experience. I for one hope she will be back….soon.
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