February 18, 1999
London W1 Improv Theatre
Last summer, he rode a white horse onstage at a show in Barcelona. You suspect he'd have done the same tonight if there'd been room...
He's hot tonight. Mmm, yeah. Jimi's burning up. Gonna make good love to you, baby. "This is a love song. I wrote it on a Caribbean island," the petite Finnish love messiah whispers, before a backdrop of a dusk-lit Caribbean island is unveiled. Jimi Tenor, blond, bespectacled, the Elton John of techno-jazz, means what he says.
Last summer, he rode a white horse onstage at a show in Barcelona. You suspect he'd have done the same tonight if there'd been room. Instead, he enters sporting a red headdress and a long blue velvet cape. It's a good start and it neatly encapsulates the New Jimi.
Before, we knew him as the comically sleazy artiste prone to bouts of jazz-soaked disco. That Jimi's still here. Right now, the Jimi we always feared he'd become is in the house. The Mokt-sipping, linen-suited European playboy. The ladies' man par excellence. The showman who encourages his band to wallow in the kind of brass-bathed deluxe gloss last heard masking a vigorously romantic scene in Miami Vice during 'Xinetope Heat' and - uh, just there, baby - 'Serious Love'.
Of course, it's all done with Disney-approved decency because ultimately Jimi's fetish is strictly voyeurism. He doesn't actually want to do it, you see, he just wants to watch and fantasise. "I wanna be the taxi driver who takes you home tonight, baby", he croons, squirming behind his keyboard.
And really, who's to deny him these simple pleasures? But it's when the DJ scratches into the frisky groove of 'Take Me Baby' and transforms 'Sugar Daddy' into a soul stomp, that the Jimi we know and love returns.
"My synthesizer is tired from all the abuse," he teases, sweating, his headdress still intact. He does S&M too? We await the X-rated Jimi Tenor with masterful self-discipline.
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