Grace Jones Brings 'Hurricane' to New York

Wild fashion and energy from 64-year-old diva

October 29, 2012 12:10 PM ET
Grace Jones performs at Roseland Ballroom in New York.
Drew Gurian

When Grace Jones finally came into view at New York's Roseland Ballroom, it was 9:40 p.m. "What if she no-shows?" one onlooker gasped, mock-horrified. The real question, of course, was: What is she going to wear?

In this case, it was a spinning white neon headpiece that could be seen moving up and down a small platform erected mid-stage as she moaned her opener, "Nightclubbing." The phantom shtick perfectly set up the show, a thrilling two hours that found Jones playing the diva to the hilt, enabled by a crack band including Paulo Goude – Jones' son with French art director Jean Paul Goude – on keyboards. When the lights came on for "This Is the Life," from Jones' 2010 album, Hurricane, we got the full view: gold mask/two-foot-high headpiece combo, black top and thong, very fine-mesh stockings, strappy and very high heels.

It was the weekend before Halloween, so Roseland was packed with costumes, many full of outlandish headgear. But the best belonged to Jones, who affixed something new to her cranium with every song. Highlights includes the heavily fringed number – with matching jacket, very flapper-gone-hippie – she brought out for "My Jamaican Guy" early on, and the oversized smiley-face logo she wore for "Pull Up to the Bumper." (She also had a pony's tail – not "ponytail.") During "Love Is the Drug," a jittery bright pink spotlight reflected off Jones' glittery top hat, turning her into a scary-bright human disco ball.

grace jones roseland
Drew Gurian

The songs themselves have only gained resonance – and although Jones has only released one album since 1989, that album, Hurricane, is one of her best. Though the title song and the taut, dramatic "Williams' Blood" were played back-to-back mid-set, they could have opened or closed the show.

It's simply amazing how much energy Jones still has at age 64. (Not to mention how well-toned her body is. "Is she doing Pilates or something?" wondered a female onlooker.) She was in great humor and unabashedly lewd, repeatedly accusing the lighting director of "getting his cock sucked up there" when he didn't cue a spotlight fast enough for her liking. During "Slave to the Rhythm," Jones crossed back and forth across the stage while keeping a neon hula-hoop aloft. (Not to mention rocking a giant starburst feather hat.)

"Slave to the Rhythm" was supposed to be the evening's finale, but the crowd wouldn't have it. Everyone in the room felt good – even the security and bar staff, who were visibly enjoying themselves. Earlier, Jones had lamented Hurricane Sandy: "I can't believe New York has a curfew. Is it true?" she asked, straddling a bass drum. With no encore prepared, Jones called for "Hurricane" again. "The hurricane is coming!" she shouted. Leave it to Grace Jones to turn the weather forecast into self-promotion.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Drew Gurian
Grace Jones performs at Roseland Ballroom in New York.
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

More Song Stories entries »