“Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese I would have never have heard this level of beauty which he has imbued them with”
– David Bowie –
It takes a certain kind of person to walk across a storied theatre stage knowing that the eyes of every one of the sold-out 1300+ people are eagerly awaiting your performance. Add to the anxiety of being the solo player in front of a crowd that large, the pressure of choosing to share your own take on the best songs written by a recently deceased virtual demi-god in pop-culture, and you see what kind of minerals Seu Jorge is made of.
After a brief voice over explaining that Wes Anderson driven origins of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou concluded, dressed as Pele dos Santos, Seu Jorge walked alone across the simple aquatic-themed 75-year-old Vogue Theatre stage. Having had no opening act to warm-up the crowd, Jorge took long strides carrying his guitar and gate similar to that of his character from The Life Aquatic. If it were not for the eruption of applause and immediate adulation it may have felt awfully lonely on that large stage with only a captain’s steering wheel, some old kegs, some ship rope, and some candles as dressing. Making up for lost time some 12 years after the cult favourite film was released, this tour marked the first time Jorge took to the road with the infamous soundtrack comprised of David Bowie classics.
Starting the night off by launching into a long wail to begin “Ziggy Stardust”, Jorge immediately shook any nerves that may have been gathered on the long march across the stage to his playing stool. With the amazing acoustics at The Vogue Theatre standing the test of time, Jorge played the first of many tracks on the night that would sound as clear as if it was playing off of the studio session recordings.
As anyone who was at the show will attest to, Jorge did a considerable amount of sharing between songs, providing a rarely heard before backdrop to when he landed the part of Pele as well as the soundtrack to the life changing film. A natural charmer, Jorge immediately gained the love of the audience by sharing anecdotes about ‘the man from America’ that called while the singer was on his PlayStation in Brazil. Jorge went on to recount how the loud man on the phone was able to contort his ex-wife’s face in a way he had never seen before, and more impressive than that left her speechless. Jorge then explained how he always got confused with who ‘the blonde guy’ was, often mixing David Bowie up with Billy Idol.
When propositioned to do the album in Portuguese and asked ‘do you know any Bowie’? Jorge replied ‘no, maybe two songs’ (the wrong two), and ‘I don’t know if you know this, but I am (a) black guy born in Belford Roxo, Brazil. Black people in Brazil don’t listen to rock n’ roll music, I’m sorry’.
The combination of a thick Portuguese accent coupled with having seasoned the beats to his stories over time from a man who inherently possesses natural charm and charisma had the audience feeling an immediate connection with the singer-songwriter.
And so went the remainder of the tremendous evening with the heart-warming Seu Jorge, intertwining thoughtful stories with emotionally transcendent renditions of David Bowie familiars. Jorge spoke of his time spent on the set of the subject film, being asked to chop his signature long hair for the role, and lying about knowing “Rebel Rebel” to impress director Wes Anderson. One of the many laughs on the night came when Jorge recounted meeting Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jeff Goldblum all at the same time on set. However, due to nerves Jorge blanked on each of their names while inexplicably remembering and addressing the celebrities as Ghostbusters, The Royal Tenenbaums and Jurassic Park.
With a quiet rumble The Vogue Theatre started the multiple season spanning celebration of the venue’s 75th year on Granville Street. MRG Concerts wisely selected Seu Jorge as the lead-in show to a monthly succession of head turning live acts marking the venue’s Diamond Anniversary.
With the highs and lows for The Vogue Theatre over it’s run, the inclusion of a man that developed many of his chops living homeless in Brazil is the perfect redemption parallel to kick off the 75th Anniversary Season. Seu Jorge went on to be widely regarded as responsible for the resurgence in pop-samba music in his homeland. Just as owner of The Vogue Theatre and MRG Group Matt Gibbons reintroduced Vancouver’s premiere venue through years of focused direction and belief in the abilities of himself and those around him.
Known for his soundtrack work well before The Life Aquatic, the now 47-year-old Jorge is full of gratitude towards Wes Anderson and his time spent with the late David Bowie prior the passing of the legend. In sharing his passion with the remarkably adoring Vogue Theatre crowd, the legend of two men that shared the same (albeit slightly different) songs will inevitably continue to blossom.
Seu Jorge Setlist
Oh! You Pretty Things
O Astonauta de Marmore – Starman
Rock and Roll Suicide
Life on Mars
When I Live My Dream
ENCORE WITH FILM CREDITS/BIG SCREEN ANIMATIONS
Oh! You Pretty Things