PJ Harvey Plays "Black Hearted Love" For First Time In Concert

PJ Harvey gave fans at the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, Spain, a pleasant surprise when she "live debuted" "Black Hearted Love," a song she had only performed once before for a special from Abbey Road Studios in 2009.

Technically that 2009 performance was the the live debut, but this weekend was the first time she played it in front of a paying audience, many of whom might not have heard it before at all because the fest was headlined by Lana Del Rey, Pulp, and SZA.

What a song those Spaniards got to hear and see.

Over 25 years ago PJ and musician John Parish began a collaboration that would result in two moody and delightful records, Dance Hall at Louse Point (1996) and A Woman A Man Walked By (2009).

Parish, a longtime composer and producer, would create music and send it to Harvey who would return it with lyrics and sometimes some musical ideas she felt complimented the song.

The only other time Black Hearted Love was performed was for this video.

Sometimes Parish would add titles to the compositions, which PJ loved.

"It helped me as a starting point with ideas," she told Q Magazine before the Abbey Road taping. "It's just a very exciting thing to be handed, as a writer of words. All the ingredients are there waiting to happen and I feel like I'm filling in the missing pieces."

Harvey dusted off a few more songs from her illustrious catalogue, including one of her biggest hits, "50 Ft. Queenie" and "Let England Shake," two songs she hadn't performed since 2017.

Before she played "The Desperate Kingdom of Love, she dedicated it to another collaborators of hers, engineer Steve Albini, who died last month. Albini was behind the board for PJ's breakthrough album, Rid of Me.

"Steve should have been here for this festival," she told the audience, "and it would be nice if we all think of him for this song."

When Albini died, Harvey wrote this on her Facebook:

"Meeting Steve Albini and working with him changed the course of my life. He taught me so much about music, and life. Steve was a great friend - wise, kind and generous. I am so grateful. My thoughts are with him and his family and friends as we suffer his loss."

PJ Harvey, who has received 8 Grammy nominations, doesn't tour an awful lot.

Since 2001, she's only played more than 90 shows in a year twice (2001, 2004). And weirdly, since 2012 the beloved singer and musician has only played about 150 gigs total.

So when she plays, it's nice that plucks songs from a variety of albums.

On Saturday she performed 18 songs from 8 different albums, although the biggest percentage of tunes were from her most recent LP, I Inside the Old Year Dying, which came out last summer.

This is one of those years you can see her live. You should do it.

Through August PJ will be touring around Europe. In September she comes to the US, first in Washington DC on 9/11, then she will make stops in most of the large cities in North America, ending up at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

Grab tickets on her website while you can because several dates have already sold out.

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Last updated: 22 Jul 2024, 01:50 Etc/UTC