Jamiroquai Automaton Arena Tour

Saturday night, November 11, Chad, Derek and I went to the Antwerp Sportpaleis to hear Jamiroquai.  I've never seen them before and I was looking forward to the live experience.  Of course the funny thing is I used to listen to them A LOT, but that was many, many years ago!  They were so big in the 1990s with their album Traveling Without Moving  and their hit song and video "Virtual Insanity".  They (I should say "he", in reference to the main member and driving force of the band, Jay Kay) just released a new album, Automaton.  It has more EDM elements than previous albums, which I like, but it's still funky.  The thing that stood out to all three of us was this Kay's voice hasn't changed a bit.  He sounds like he did back in the 1990s!  His dancing wasn't great, and he has put on a few pounds since in the past twenty years, but who hasn't!  

Anyway, being Americans we were all surprised at how many people were at this show.  By that I mean the band was big in the States two decades ago, but not really anymore.  This is NOT SO in Europe!  They played the same venue where I saw Madonna, musical icon for the past three decades and one of the world's most successful musicians.  It's a huge arena and it was pretty packed!  Also, this might be the most animated crowd of Belgians I've experienced at a show since moving here.  When we saw Madonna the crowd was very reserved (it kind of pissed me off, actually).  HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO NOT BE DANCING AT A MADONNA SHOW?!  Apparently they prefer their neo-funk, acid jazz, EDM jams over the dance pop of M.  

There were ten musicians onstage.  Jay Kay, a drummer, a percussionist, two keyboardists, guitar, bass, and three backup singers.  Surprisingly, we felt like there should be more, namely some horns (definitely saxophone).  Many of their songs would be enhanced by this addition, and as a matter of fact, several of their recordings do include horns.  There are several saxophone solos in their tracks. 

Lights! Lights! Lights!
There were seemingly thousands of lights on stage.  There are even lights on Jay Kay's hat/costume/helmet thing.  He's known for always wearing a hat, and this one is pretty damn cool.  It's mechanical, so it opens and closes.  It also must have LED lights or something similar all over it, because it changes colours.  It's a very cool effect.  It's so cool that it has become the symbol for the band.  Here it is in action:


This is the same outfit he was wearing at the show we saw in Antwerp. 

This is the same outfit he was wearing at the show we saw in Antwerp. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable show.  I wasn't overly familiar with their discography (just their second and third albums which were big in the U.S.) but it was funky enough that it didn't matter.  Jay Kay sounded amazing (great voice!), the background singers were excellent, and the light show was mesmerising.  I'm glad we went!