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article imageReview: Musical group 'Massive Attack' light up London's O2 arena Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 23, 2019 in Entertainment
London - Massive Attack's world tour, where they recreate most of their 1998 album Mezzanine, reached London's 02 Arena with sonic guns blazing at a level befitting band's name, reverberating heavily around the 20,000 strong venue.
Mezzanine is generally regarded as Massive Attack's best album, although the creative process that led to the record being made some twenty years ago was apparently fraught and almost led to the band splitting up. Such creative tensions, even twenty-one years later, have made for a superb concert.
With the new world tour, the core of Massive Attack - Bristol pair Daddy G and Robert Del Naja - present a completely fresh audio-visual experience focused on their 1998 classic release Mezzanine. The sound is loud, mixing elements of heavier rock with electronica, with occasional bursts of melody and underlying trip-hop grooves.
Massive Attack  electronica and trip-hop icons  fill out the O2 Arena in London.
Massive Attack, electronica and trip-hop icons, fill out the O2 Arena in London.
In recreating the album the band have not simply recreated the songs as if they were simply dusting down the CD are playing it over hefty speakers. The songs are re-enlivened through the array of instruments and slight rearrangements. The songs are also given new depth and perspective through audio refurbishments based on the music’s inspirations. The visuals seek to re-imagine the tracks and alter their perspectives, updating them for contemporary times. For the visual effects and archival footage, Massive Attack teamed up with film maker Adam Curtis.
Adam Curtis s visual elements on show at the Massive Attack concert.
Adam Curtis's visual elements on show at the Massive Attack concert.
The visuals include many themes of political unrest, keeping with the original subtext of Mezzanine, and these are still relevant, as these shows come to the U.K., in the shambles that is Brexit.
One of the political messages displayed at the the Massive Attack concert.
One of the political messages displayed at the the Massive Attack concert.
The highlights of the evening where the three appearances of Liz Fraser, the Scottish singer, songwriter and musician. While best known for her 1990s band the Cocteau Twins, Fraser, who sings at a soprano vocal range, has collaborated with many artists. With Massive Attack, the three songs she performed on included the hit single "Teardrop". The song is said to be about Jeff Buckley, who disappeared and found drowned in 1997.
As well as "Teardrop", the other lead singles from Mezzanine went down extremely well with the capacity crowd - trip-hop influenced "Risingson", "Angel" (which is strong on abstract and ambient sounds, and familiar globally through the television series House) and "Inertia Creeps", which is especially sinister and disturbing.
A video clip of the concert:
The tracks are not performed in the order of the album too to reflect that this is a re-imagination, and the album's songs are inter-spaced with other tracks. There were some good covers, too. The show opens with a superb rendition of opening The Velvet Underground‘s "I Found A Reason".
Massive Attack playing Mezzanine  it’s alienation all the way down.
Massive Attack playing Mezzanine, it’s alienation all the way down.
Another good cover version The Cure‘s "10:15 Saturday Night", which also appears early on in the set. As well as Fraser's guest vocals, Jamaican roots reggae singer Horace Andy, another long term collaborator, sings on tracks "Man Next Door" and "See a Man's Face."
The only downside with concert was that while large screens were used to project various audio images there were no close up shots of the band. From this reviewers vantage point, beneath the spectacular images Lowryesque figures were playing on the stage.
More about massive attack, mezzanine, liz fraser, Rock
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