A STAGE invasion, an AWOL singer and impromptu MC battles - I guess we should always have expected the unexpected with Tricky.
This Bristol show, his first hometown appearance since a foundations-troubling gig at the Victoria Rooms in 1999, was seemingly a chance to revel in former glories by playing his superb solo debut Maxinquaye in its entirety.
But nostalgia doesn’t sit well with Tricky. Instead, these songs were often given an almighty kicking, pulled apart then reconstructed.
Another unique slant here was his reunion with former partner Martina Topley-Bird who featured heavily on early Tricky records.
Their current relationship is hard to decipher on stage. There was no banter or knowing glances of any real significance which gave an added frisson to what became an increasingly bizarre set.
On its first live outing, these songs haven’t been nailed down yet - on Tricky’s part that’s probably quite deliberate - and there’s plenty of scope for taking odd tangents with his stripped-back four-piece band.
Opening with the woozy Ponderosa, they got into their stride with Aftermath, all subterranean bass and walloping drums as well as Black Steel which retained its punkish rush.
Half a dozen songs in though and they’re still hesitant on Overcome but regained momentum with an intense Hell Is Round The Corner.
Tired of sticking to the rulebook, Tricky then instigated a stage invasion, handing the mic to his youngest brother for some freestyle MCing. For Strugglin’, he jumped into the crowd and urged his band on from the front row instead.
He’s AWOL, too, for Brand New You’re Retro which saw his brother back on stage with two other Bristol MC’s for an extended jam.
By the end, the band seem unsure if Tricky’s still in the building or if he’s nipped back to Knowle West, leaving them to shuffle embarrassinglyon the spot for several minutes. He reappeared for all of five seconds for Makes Me Wanna Die before reconvening properly for set closer Christiansands.
At times, this was all over the shop. Erratic and intriguing in equal measure, this show won’t be forgotten in a hurry.