Bush Hall, review #2
It's Lisa Marie Presley's first ever UK gig and she is battling a cold. But having spent 44 years in the shadow of a rock'n'roll revolutionary and surviving a marriage to the King of Pop, she's not about to let a bit of phlegm get to her.
Her nerves, though, just might. The glamour of her black and satin outfit and perfectly coiffured tumbling tresses can't hide the terror in those so-familiar, kohl-ringed eyes as she starts to sing. Feline and wary, by the closing notes of opener So Long, her relief is palpable.
Ironically, Presley, who's been doggedly pursuing a career in music for almost a decade, should be bristling with confidence. Her new album, Storm & Grace, has not only disinterred her husky, honeyed voice from an AOR grave, but seen her claim her southern soul heritage and win the credibility that's always evaded her. Joined by a five-piece band styled like Victorian undertakers and including husband Michael Lockwood on guitar and Chuck Berry's nephew Al Berry on bass, Presley wallows in the atmospheric warmth of Weary, her rich tone recalling the father she seems to appeal to as her eyes turn skyward while singing: "Can you hear me now?" But there's no sense of entitlement – just old-fashioned humility. Even the spooky, Scientology-baiting single You Ain't See Nothin' Yet is conveyed with hope, not arrogance.
"I'm not very good at promoting myself, I'm rubbish at it," Presley says. She's self-sacrificing too, allowing Ed Harcourt to join her for the dreary Soften the Blows, and an encore of Tom Petty's Need to Know feels like an out-of-place gift to her band. But with their support and a besotted crowd before her, Presley grows more comfortable in her own skin, losing herself in her music and downing a shot of tequila. With a hankie in one hand and bouquets in the other, she leaves this corner of west London feeling a little like Vegas.