PJ Harvey @ The Eden Project

Way back in August 2003 PJ Harvey played the Eden Project (supported by Elbow). I queued alongside Polly’s parents. I was there at the front, with my little disposable camera. I remember very little about the gig itself, but I do remember spending the night sleeping out in the cold on a bench at St Austell bus and train station (which I do not recommend).

What I do remember was how great it was to hear ‘Dress’, ‘Good Fortune’, ’50ft Queenie’ and more live, at a time between the Mercury prize winning Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea and it’s follow up Uh Huh Her. In the intervening years, Polly has released another five albums (including Uh Huh Her), won another Mercury Music Prize (for Let England Shake) and been an awarded an MBE. As soon as I heard she was to play at the Eden Project again, I knew I had to go.

Polly was backed by Jean-Marc Butty, Enrico Gabrielli, Mick Harvey, Alain Johannes, James Johnston, John Parish, Kenrick Rowe and Alessandro Stefana, as they weaved the set into a carefully choreographed stage performance based around The Hope Six Demolition Project. In fact, it somewhat surprised me how the mini selection of songs from Let England Shake felt like they had been written at the same time. The narrative was only broken by the inclusion of ’50ft Queenie’, ‘Down By The Water’ and ‘To Bring You My Love’ but nobody could disagree that these weren’t warmly welcomed by the audience.

The support slot was billed as a ‘very special guest’, who turned out to be Jehnny Beth of Savages (who were originally announced as support, before this was withdrawn). Jehnny played a solo set on piano of songs she had composed, including the original version of ‘Adore’ and a cover of Thin Lizzy‘s ‘Wild One‘ , from a little setlist she placed in the key-cover of the piano. Nervous at first, she opened up and talked to the audience about being personally invited by her friend, Polly and how it was the first time she had played piano with heels on.

PJ Harvey

Setlist:

Chain of Keys
The Ministry of Defence
The Community of Hope
The Orange Monkey
A Line In The Sand
Let England Shake
The Words That Maketh Murder
The Glorious Land
Medicinals
When Under Ether
Dollar Dollar
The Wheel
The Ministry of Social Affairs
50ft Queenie
Down By The Water
———————
To Bring You My Love
River Anacostia

Jehnny Beth

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