Marianne Faithfull in Concert

Dates 29 May 2007 @ 20.00 Venue The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts

Reviewer Susan Peake

In the last week of May, Vancouver’s music scene certainly received its share of concerts by “oldies but goodies.” Sandwiched between the long-awaited Police concerts that took place at GM Place on 28 May and 30 May was the illustrious Marianne Faithfull kicking off her current tour.

The Centre was by no means bursting at the seams with fans, but a respectable number came to see this enigmatic performer. The stage was appropriately set to reflect a nostalgic theme. Three sheer panels with the image of a wandering thorn branch hung at the back of the stage. This would later be effectively enhanced by ever-changing and sometimes psychedelic-like lighting that reflected the mood of the music.

The show opened with a performance by Vancouver Island’s Mae Moore singing several folksy tunes that had a Joni Mitchell-like quality and contributed to instilling a “60s” flavour to the evening. Moore’s rich, lilting voice was complemented by her expertise on the guitar and resulted in a very pleasant half-hour introduction to the evening’s entertainment.

After an unexpected intermission following Moore’s set, Marianne finally appeared. She began with several songs from her eclectic repertoire, such as “Because of Love,” “I Will Watch Over You,” and “Spike Driver Blues,” and those in the audience who were familiar with her work over the past forty years responded with enthusiastic whistles and cheers. She also sang several songs she had co-written with various songwriters, such as “Vagabond Way” and “Crazy Love,” much to the delight of her loyal fans.

It was evident that Marianne Faithfull was enjoying herself as she swayed to the rhythm of her tunes and she commented several times on how pleased she was to be in Vancouver and to be singing the songs that she wanted to sing. Her lean three piece band (drums, guitar, and keyboards) produced an excellent sound that provided added value to her uniquely husky voice.

And, as expected, she closed the show with her most famous hit, “As Tears Go By.” It’s hard to believe that she was a mere 17 years old when she recorded the song 43 years ago; written by Keith Richards and her old flame, Mick Jagger. Life for Marianne Faithfull has been a series of challenges since those early days – her latest being a bout with breast cancer – but she is the ultimate survivor. And, by the way, a portion of ticket sales for her show went to cancer research.

© 2007 Susan Peake