concert reviews

Joss Stone at Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA, Wednesday 15 June 2005

When singing, Joss Stone sounds so much older than her teenage years. Her unfocused performance at Wolf Trap on Wednesday night, however, exposed her inexperience. A nervous giggle surfaced whenever she spoke between songs, and sometimes during songs too. Stone seemed so surprised by the crowd's singing along on "Right to Be Wrong" that she was barely able to deliver her own final line through her giggles.

During "Less Is More," one of the three backup singers sang the lead vocal melody for a verse while Stone inexplicably threw flowers into the audience and danced across the stage. Indeed, there was a lot of dancing all night, as Stone shook her hips like a belly dancer during every instrumental interlude, and often while she sang as well.

Despite this distracting stage presence, Stone's voice was consistently strong. She projected an emotional and confident version of Harlan Howard's "The Chokin' Kind" and delivered a re-gendered White Stripes cover, "Fell in Love With a Boy," with her distinctive sultry moan. As she introduced that song, she encouraged the audience to join in on the choruses and exclaimed, "It's really not that hard to sing!" If that were truly the case, then perhaps another, more seasoned performer should have taken Stone's place onstage.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 17 June 2005
.: Selected discography: Mind, Body & Soul (Joss Stone, 2004); The Soul Sessions (Joss Stone, 2003).