I like to think of myself as a tough dyke, I admit it. A bit intimidating. A bit of a bruiser. All the more reason to be stunned at the effect Lucy Lawless had on me and a crowd of women like me when she took the stage at the Roxy. I felt like a wound-up toddler--overstimulated, whimpering, incapable of rational speech, at times almost on the verge of tears.
The Cute-Little-Red-Headed-Girlfriend and I got in line for the show roughly an hour before the doors opened. L.A. is experiencing some uncharacteristically cold weather, so we shivered in line in the low-30s air until we started to go numb. During my punk teen years, when busting into music clubs was weekly sport, I had once broken into the back of the Roxy when I couldn't get in by the front door. With the weather so cold, it was tempting to try it again.
While in line, I recognized a fellow blogger from her live-blogging of the Xena Con earlier in the day. I introduced myself and we chatted: she was covering the event for AfterEllen.com, so check out her report there when it goes up, as well as the great concert coverage on her site, Dogged Blog.
MC Kat Crimins and comic Tig Nataro did a great job warming up the audience and set a conversational tone for the evening. Portions of the concert were like a traditional rock or pop concert, but there were often chatty interludes and long intros that reflected the tight relationship Lucy has with her fans.
Dogged Blog reports that there were some problems with the sound initially. Since I was in the mosh pit about two rows back from the stage, it wasn't something I noticed, since there's a "wall of sound" effect when you're standing that close. However, I did feel that throughout the night I heard aspects of Lucy's voice that I'd never heard before, both in the higher and lower registers. If this is the beginning of a music career, it's exciting to imagine what's to come.
Speaking of coming, as soon as Lucy hit that stage in her leather chaps, I felt a tight grip on my arm that just seemed to get tighter and squeeze harder with each refrain. It was my girlfriend, twisting my arm with excitement. As I watched Lucy grip the microphone and belt out one of her original songs, "Down on My Knees," I could feel the girlfriend start to sway next to me as she moaned in my ear "the hands, the hands" (she's obsessed with Lucy's well-endowed mitts, which she lovingly calls "her Frankenhands").
I'd heard one of Lucy's originals songs at another event, but this time around both of her original pieces really impressed me with how catchy they sounded. Even with an audience that's positively disposed towards a performer, it can be hard to get them to connect with a song they're not that familiar with. So I was surprised at how much I dug Lucy's rendition of the New Zealand pop song, "Maxine," a fact I can only attribute to her abilities as a singer.
In contrast, on well-known tunes that are easy to get wrong, like "Don't Let Me Down" and "Piece of My Heart," Lucy's performance was so strong that the audience went completely apeshit. It was full-on insanity. Lucy also had a great rapport with her band and her back-up singers (the two women were also very sexy). During a costume change, one of the back-ups, Sharlotte Gibson, came forward to do a very rockin' performance of an original song.
The back-up singers also appeared to be having fun with the audience. I really liked it when Lucy stripped off her top shirt, revealing a tank underneath and threw it at one of her back-up singers. In the spirit of Lucy worship that permeated the evening, the female singer held the sweaty garment to her face and inhaled deeply and joyously before throwing it backstage. (I yelled at her to throw it to me, but alas, no.)
There was good news from the concert, as well as some bad. Lucy is going to be appearing on Curb Your Enthusiasm (yay!). On the downside, Lucy's appearance at the Dinah Shore Weekend, which was originally supposed to be on Saturday, has been moved to Friday and she's only been asked to do three songs, not a full set. (Private to organizers: Are you crazy? Fix it, fix it now.)
Don't forget, you can still get tickets for tonight.
Concert photos appearing on this page are all Copyright 2007 Gregg DeGuire / lucylawless.info. Thanks to Mary D. for letting me use them here. For tons more photos and other reports, check out Mary's site. For more coverage of Lucy on In Sequence, do a search for "Lucy" or "Xena." She's all over the place.