I had the good fortune to attend last night’s Massive Attack concert at the Palace Theater in downtown St. Paul. The group performed most of the tracks from its landmark 1998 album Mezzanine, which I played incessantly back in those days. I had doubts about whether Mezzanine‘s dystopian soundscapes could be reproduced in a live setting, but the band nailed every song.
I could have done with a bit less of the strobing lights and video montage that accompanied the performance. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few people in the audience suffered seizures as a result of the light show. The video featured a lot of footage from the 90s depicting the rise of the Internet and celebrity culture, as well as more disturbing scenes from the Gulf Wars. I get the intended message–our current fucked-up state of affairs had its origins in seemingly simpler times. That message was diminished by the video’s self-indulgence.
Minor criticisms aside, this was a memorable concert. Horace Andy delivered a spooky yet beautiful rendition of “Angel.” And I won’t soon forget watching Liz Fraser (formerly of the Cocteau Twins) perform “Teardrop” on a stage of shadow and light. Check it out: