Reviewed Nov. 19, 1997.
Although Jason (Jay) Kay apologized at one point for being exhausted, explaining this was the last night of Jamiroquai’s U.S. tour, there was nary a sign of inertia during the English band’s nearly two-hour set. Kay danced about the stage like a rag doll with jerky acrobatic movements — leaping, twirling and sliding on his knees, performing flips and handstands, and conducting with his arms and shaking his hips — seemingly off in his own world. While main songwriter/vocalist Kay is the focal point, it’s apparent Jamiroquai is more than a one-man band.
A unique concoction, Jamiroquai blends R&B, soul, funk, hip hop and world beats; its first two albums (“Emergency on Planet Earth” and “The Return of the Space Cowboy”) lean heavy on the smooth and mellow R&B, the 1996 release “Travelling Through Space” digsan upbeat groove into funk. Live, the combination of the two styles translated into a flowing ride.
On the smooth side were the very-adult sounding “Mr. Moon” and the tripping “Space Cowboy” (about the right to smoke marijuana), the latter of which featured Kay’s human breath beat box (yogalike exhales into the microphone). Up-tempo hits included “Virtual Insanity,” “Cosmic Girl” and a surprise cover of Kool & the Gang’s 1974 single “Hollywood Swinging.” On instrumentals “Didjerama” and “Didjital Vibrations,” Kay gives way at center stage to the unique sounds created by Wallis Buchanan on the didgeridoo and standout bassist Stuart Zender.