FRF '99 White Stage

Tricks of the light [1999.8.1 21:39]

Rain sprinkled down the dust just before Tricky appeared, or that is, came on stage. He never really appeared before our eyes (and light meters).

For the first song Tricky performed in total darkness (God's illumination crew had already turned the sky lights down low). Everybody, especially the photographers, probably thought it was a technical gaffe.

Then, Tricky, or somebody that resembled Tricky, ran offstage, we thought, to sort out the lighting situation.

But then it started to dawn of us. Wait a minute. Tricky's music IS dark, and he rarely does anything conventionally. ''Not a firestarter, gotta be smarter,'' he chanted at one point.

So we got used to it, and waited for soft slivers of green and red to shed some shadows on the matter, precisely Tricky's sinewed back flexing has he clung to the microphone and spat his lyrics of venom and alienation.

Supported by two women vocalists (including his longtime partner Martina), bass, guitar and a battery of percussion, Tricky stuck to tantra-like hypnosis, even paring down his own sparse, minimalistic brand of music. As the set seamlessly moved along, spanning both early and recent material, more light sculpted Tricky's face, filling out the mysterious man behind the music. But in the end he still remained an enigma, impossible to define. Distinctions such as dub, rap and trip hop vanished in melodies and rhythms that seemed askew on second, meshing perfectly the next.

Ultimately we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks for the trip.

1999.8.1 Reported by mark

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