Published Dec 01, 2004Having never seen Polly Jean Harvey live, I wasn't certain of what to expect of her first Vancouver show in several years and how it would measure up to her solid repertoire of strong and evocative studio albums. But captivating the audience from the minute she walked on stage, British songstress PJ Harvey did not disappoint even her most demanding fans. She owned both the stage and the night, taking the crowd on a compelling emotional journey and receiving their devoted respect in return. Dressed as sexy as ever in turquoise high heels and a short, tight, festive orange dress, from the minute she emerged the stage was clearly set for Harvey to rip through 90 minutes or so of songs from her repertoire with the exceptional passion and power that she deftly commands. The energy added by Harvey's stellar back-up band was a real treat, providing the beefiest guitar/bass and hypnotic, thumping drums (two drummers on many songs) the sit-down venue had likely witnessed in a very long time. While much of the material came from her latest album, Uh Huh Her, the second half and two encores included a number of songs from her earlier records, which still sound as fresh as ever. Songs like "Dress," "Meet Ze Monsta" and "Big Exit" seemed especially memorable. The only criticism, if there was one, would be that Harvey's live performance brought with it very little interaction with the audience. All the better, I suppose, for continuing her well-established rock goddess mystique.