We Know It’s Only Rock N’ Roll But We Like It



1.) It takes some measure of balls to sashay onstage for the first time in a city you’ve never played before and launch directly into your hit album’s slowest number, accompanied only by a guitar. Apparently our Ms. Duffy has balls to spare, because the love-don’t-cost-a-thing ballad “Syrup and Honey” had the crowded (yet inexplicably not sold-out) TLA shouting out their appreciation during the song’s pauses, waving their hands in the air like it was Sunday morning at the Church of Blue-Eyed Soul.

2.) Visually, Duffy looks a bit like Pam Anderson’s younger sister, the one who spent her money on voice lessons instead of plastic tits. Clad in a black halter-top-and-shorts outfit with yellow pumps and appearing every inch the pinup girl, Duffy commanded the stage far more easily than opener Eli “Paperboy” Reed had. Backed by a five-piece combo, she ran through nearly all of the tracks from the multimillion-selling Rockferry CD, then sank her red fingernails into Solomon Burke’s “Cry To Me.” It’s a song you don’t often hear a woman take on, and the selection seemed especially brave to tackle it in Philadealphia, where Burke is rightly regarded as some kind of Soul Saint. But in doing so, she successfully turned the tables on Burke’s ode to female sensual surrender, instead rendering it a sensitive reassurance to a man who might not have believed Rosie Greer when he said it was OK to cry.

3.) Duffy started her concert after a between-sets interlude of selections from the Pretenders’ Greatest Hits. So it seemed to follow naturally that just as Chrissie Hynde finished lustily demanding “I got to have some of your attention, give it to me,” Duffy came along to croon “Syrup and Honey’s” chorus of “Baby, baby, baby spend your time on me.” If the eternal question is what women really want, the answer last night was simple, fellas: Attention and time. [Gag. I’m rolling my eyes over here. Is this a concert review or an Alan Alda sensitivity training course? –The Ed.]

4.) If the stock-in-trade of the latest raft of Brit girl singers — the Misses Winehouse, Allen, Nash et. al — has often been the salty cynicism and downright anger that comes from being a woman in this heartless modern world, then what sets Duffy apart most of all is how . . . normal she seems. “She just seems so likable,” a woman in front of me told her boyfriend as the crowd spilled out onto South Street. Another woman in the audience, Mary from Lansdale, told me “I’m just leaving this show tonight feeling happy. Write that!” [If I wanted Mary From Landsdale to review the Duffy show, I would have sent her. — The Ed.]

5.) “I don’t know if there are any under-18s in the audience, but this song is about not taking any shit from anybody,” Duffy cooed before launching into “Warwick Avenue,” a sweetly-delivered kiss-off song that conveys vulnerability and regret but not bitterness. And there were plenty of under-18s in the house, many with their Moms, who watched wtih almost visible relief as Duffy sashayed confidently around the stage, swinging the mic from her hip like a flapper with a long strand of pearls, smiling coyly from under the sweeping bangs of her Bardot-style upswept ‘do while at no point seeming in danger of passing out from intoxication like that other Brit girl singer, the one with the big black beehive and a similar first name, who made so much noise last year. –– AMY Z. QUINN

EDITOR’S NOTE: Its now official, Phawker has broken up with Amy Winehouse and Duffy is Phawker’s new girlfriend. All that remains is breaking the news to Duffy. Hopefully there won’t be any kicking and screaming and restraining orders. That demeans us all.

DON COVAY: Mercy, Mercy

SEE ALSO: Stones, Rolling

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