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 Lisa Marie Presley review: Staying in neutral

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PostSubject: Lisa Marie Presley review: Staying in neutral   Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:05 pm

Lisa Marie Presley review: Staying in neutral
Aidin Vaziri


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Lisa Marie Presley gives a thumbs up to fans yelling "I love you" at Slim's in San Francisco Calif. on Sunday, June 24, 2012. Presley's third album 'Storm and Grace' was released May 15, approximately nine years after her first album 'To Whom It May Concern.' Photo: Alex Washburn / SF


Midway through her stop-and-go concert at Slim's on Sunday night, Lisa Marie Presley offered any potentially disappointed fans in the audience a bit of consolation. "It sounds better than sound check," she said. "Sound check sucked."

You don't expect such humility from someone with such rich rock 'n' roll blood running through her veins. But Presley, as in the only child of Elvis, doesn't seem too hung up on expectations.

In town as part of a brief tour to promote her third album - and first in seven years - "Storm and Grace," the 44-year-old former wife of Nicolas Cage and Michael Jackson appeared refreshingly apprehensive onstage.

Wearing a sensible black blazer while the rest of her five-piece band was dressed for a Gypsy wedding, Presley spent most of the evening clutching a microphone much too close to her face, halfheartedly tapping a tambourine on her hip and, well, apologizing.

"This is a very confused tour," she said shortly after announcing the final song some 40-minutes into the set, to a chorus of boos from the comfortable but not nearly packed venue. "We're doing the best we can."

Presley, who now lives in rural England with fourth husband Michael Lockwood (also her guitarist and musical director) and their 3-year-old twins, worked on the new album with Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett. The determinedly rootsy effort represents a break from not only her first two pop albums from 2003 and 2005 (too much record company meddling, apparently) but also her former life, particularly her ties to the Church of Scientology.

On Sunday, she opened the show with a song called "So Long," wrapping her extra-husky voice around a bitter kiss-off: "Farewell, fair-weather friends, can't say that I miss you in the end. So long, seems that I was so wrong."

A bit later, she echoed the sentiment in the bluesy "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," calmly crooning, "You can think that I'm evil and I'm off the rails. You ain't seen nothin' yet."

Despite the insistent message behind the songs, Presley and her band rarely shifted out of neutral at Slim's. The music, which was maybe a little too refined for its own good, never quite caught the attention of the crowd or even the singer. "What are we doing?" Presley said at one point, working from the same set list she has been using every night. "I've forgotten."

It hardly mattered because it wasn't until the encore that things finally loosened up. Ironically, it took Presley reviving one of her old songs, "Lights Out," to get the biggest reaction of the night. It also took a rainbow-colored boa and shot of Tequila (in honor of Pride).

"You could light me on fire right now," she said, wobbling to the microphone.

As the group fired off the first notes of a cover of Tom Petty's "I Need to Know," Presley suddenly came to life, breaking out of her smoky mumble, stomping around the stage and showing a sneer that looked vaguely familiar.

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