There’s a song, “Delirious,” on Grace Potter’s solo debut, Midnight, that channels Prince both in name and in spirit. It’s a glittery pop song with a funky guitar rhythm clearly inspired by the late star. With his recent passing, it’s no surprise then that she began her show Wednesday night at the Faena Theater in Miami Beach with an homage to him.
“Dearly beloved,” the voiceover began. “We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” The opening lines to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” have never carried more weight than they do now. But instead of the funeral
Performing in front of an intimate crowd at the elegant and quite lovely Faena Theater, with its opulent crystal chandelier hanging high above the pit (an elephant in the room that Potter charmingly addressed later on in the evening), Potter joked that she was just as bummed as everyone in the crowd that she wasn’t at Beyoncé's concert and wished she was there too. However, this cheeky and knowing comment only felt half sincere because Potter didn’t act like someone who wanted to be elsewhere.
Dressed a little like Stevie Nicks (and moving a bit like her as well), Potter’s first song was the big pop number “Hot to the Touch,” a track that sees her moving away from her folk/country/roots rock past. Still, for longtime fans of her work with the Nocturnals, there was no need to worry. By the third song, her signature flying V guitar was slung around her shoulder and Potter was furiously slashing away at it.
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Never staying still, Potter bounced between the guitar, the piano, and sashayed back and forth onstage with only the mic and a fistful of exuberance. She busted out a few quirky dance moves that were reminiscent of Mick Jagger in the '60s and Tina Turner in the '80s. Regardless of her sometimes awkward gyrations and slow motion arm flailing, the one thing that was flawless was her voice. Potter has the range to hit just about any note humanly possible and she does so loudly. Clear, impressive, and gorgeous, Potter’s vocals are like all of the Supremes and a gospel choir performing at once.
Between belting out songs like “Biggest Fan,” “Empty Heart,” and the flirty, ultra-fun “Your Girl,” she found time for plenty of guitar solos, at one point shredding as if she was about to kick off a Rage Against the Machine concert — which then immediately led into a piano-driven funk and soul jam. It’s a move that should surprise none of her fans as there’s no genre Potter doesn’t excel at.
And in keeping with that sentiment, she brought the show full circle by the close. A few songs after crushing it with a most righteous cover of Queen Bey’s “Crazy in Love,” she launched into a sassy cover of Prince’s “Kiss.” For the encore, wearing a black, feathered nightie and bathed in purple light, she teased “When Doves Cry” before segueing into one of her most popular tracks, “Stars.”
Oscillating between influences and styles, Potter brought it all home by the close of the show with her biggest hit single, “Paris (Ooh La La).” It’s a song that shows, no matter how pop she goes, especially on Midnight, her heart will always belong to nasty licks and loud-as-hell guitar riffs that are straight Lita Ford and Led Zeppelin, even as she shows us how much of a pop heroine she can be.