Many years back I knew a gay Buddhist who lived in the East Village. He was the first person to play Antony & The Johnsons for me, and at the time I had no way to process it. I wasn’t familiar with the whole faux cabaret tradition, the post-Klaus Nomi camp theatrics and all that stuff. But something he said stuck with me, after I had finished listening to “Cripple and the Starfish” in his bedroom.
“Antony”, he said, with this strange gleam in his eyes, “is a true superstar in every sense of the word. He’s a superstar.”
I get what he means by that now.
Antony, despite an on-stage persona that twists between full-on invocation of a primordial, androgynous diva and incredibly shy art school kid, projects a strange and compelling force. This show was a complete manifestation of that force. The group (all seven of them) plays together with a sense of fun, exchanging glances and very few words before launching into the next piece, most of which were from The Crying Light. He played that Beyonce song. He played “You Are My Sister” Their ending encore was “Hope There’s Someone” and “Cripple and The Starfish”. It was magnificent.
Town Hall is a great venue, in that it feels like the old union hall / suffragette meeting space that it was way back when. The sound is flawless and our view from the balcony was perfect.
Town Hall is an awful venue if you’re over 6’2″, however. My knees still hurt from being mashed into the backs of the seats in front of us, sitting nearly side-saddle, unable to put my feet flat.
Still, the pain was worth it.
Here’s a clip of “Aeon” below.