“The Apollo Nights Summer Series is a new concert experience for the capital. Over one week in July 2019 at London’s Eventim Apollo, legendary artists will take to the stage, as the Apollo’s newly restored Art Deco interior is celebrated as the stalls area is transformed into an intimate dining experience for a truly spectacular evening, marrying the delights of the best in music and food. The first artists announced are Burt Bacharach and Joss Stone together in concert on 16th and 17th July, George Benson on 18th and 19th July and Marc Almond on 20th July. … Almond will take the audience on a journey through his hits as well as his favourite burlesque and cabaret songs. One of the most gifted vocal talents the UK has ever produced, Almond has enjoyed a celebrated career as an artist selling over 35 million records worldwide. For this special show, he will be joined by Europe’s most renowned burlesque dancer, Immodesty Blaize. As Britain’s biggest burlesque star with her infamous hourglass shape, Immodesty recalls the lost art of bombshell glamour on stage; she is a modern-day embodiment of a Fellini muse.” [Eventim Apollo website]

Immodesty Blaize & Marc Almond
Photograph: www.marcalmond.co.uk A lurex and animal-print-clad audience filed into the art-deco glory of the Eventim Apollo. Marc Almond glided onto the stage in a black Nehru suit. He cheerfully welcomed us to a "night of glamour under the flyover", a Talk of the Town show featuring a fifteen-piece band.

Almond’s song-list included Tantalise Me, John Barry’s homage of sinister erotica bathed in purple light accompanied by soprano vocals. Following sophisticated sleaze was Lonely Go-Go Dancer to a heady drum beat and an aura of pink and white light. Almond relished performing this track from his 2001 album Stranger Things. Bongo and snare drums launched Temptation, quickly followed by burlesque star Immodesty Blaize in full-feather headdress, silver sequin skin-tight frock who disrobed as Almond entered to a brass fanfare for A Lover Spurned, a ballad of anguish from the 1990 album Enchanted. The theme of loss continued with a cover of Johnnie Ray's Lotus Blossom, a duet with the female backing singer swathed in bordello-red lighting, songs of evil women, devils in disguise and Satan walking behind you merging into the bluesy opulence of Park Avenue Beat and Barry's Fred and Cyd as Immodesty peeled off once more.

A cover of Bobby Bland's 36-22-36, with compelling jazz piano and Almond's sure voice, praised the female form as did That Dress. The eroticism ended and the hits began with the brisk Jacques Brel cover Jacky, the raunchy It's My Life Baby, and then another Immodesty disrobing. A jaunty Say Hello Wave Goodbye got us singing. The conclusion was Tainted Love, the best-selling single of 1981; alas there were only two hits from Almond’s first album Non Stop Erotic Cabaret. His unique brand of musky pneumatic sophistication and lachrymose degradation delivered, as did the operatic quality of his crystal-clear diction.

 

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