Possibly the last thing I expected to see at last night’s Antony and the Johnsons concert was a jamming Beyonce cover. Silly me: Midway through their sold-out set at New York City’s Town Hall, the indie stars burst into a fully Antonyfied version of “Crazy in Love,” reborn as an exquisite chamber-group fugue. Apparently A and the J’s have been doing this on tour for a while now (check out a clip from another show earlier this week embedded below).
Everything else last night was pretty spectacular, too, with six backing players including strings and horns helping Antony recreate the swirling arrangements found on his records. And man, Antony’s voice sounds just as sublime in person. (The title track of The Crying Light, still my favorite album of the year so far, was a standout. So was “Aeon.” I could go on and name every song they played here, so I’ll stop now.) But there was something special about the way Antony made “Crazy in Love” his own. If he can do Beyonce that well, you got the sense he could sing virtually any song and make it work, no matter how far removed from his usual mileu. Maybe that shouldn’t have been such a surprise after hearing Antony stretch out into elastic disco on last year’s Hercules and Love Affair album, but it was still an amazing moment. Anyone else feeling crazy in love with Antony’s Beyonce homage – and/or crossing their fingers he’ll take on “Single Ladies” or “Get Me Bodied” next? I know I am.
More on Antony and unlikely covers:
Gallery: The 20 Worst Cover Songs Ever (This is not one of them, at all!)
The Crying Light got an A– review
The band’s Another World EP made it onto our Must List
EW liked Antony and the Johnson’s previous album, I Am a Bird Now, in 2005