A night with Jeff Goldblum at Pryzm
Jeff Goldblum is in his element.
Sharply dressed, the Hollywood megastar is holding court in front of a packed ballroom at Kingston's Pryzm nightclub.
"Thank you all for coming out tonight to Pryzm," he purrs, before greeting a lady in the front row: "Hey don't I know you? Didn't we meet yesterday? You're from Nat Geo right?"
It turns out she isn't. But the crowd doesn't care, they are lapping up every word Goldblum utters, every person is held in the thrall of a man who, from the moment he sauntered out on stage, has given the distinct impression he is making this up as he goes along.
"Does anyone have any questions for me?" he coos, before laughing and shrugging away the inevitable Jurassic Park-themed catcalls.
What is especially surreal, particularly to those not intimately acquainted with his work, is that Goldblum's impressive silver screen resume is not nominally why he is here tonight, in a nightclub on the bank of the River Thames.
Away from hit films such as Thor: Ragnarok, Independence Day and The Fly, Goldblum is an accomplished jazz pianist. He has released one ablum already and this month sees the release of his latest; I Shouldn't Be Telling You This, alongside The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. It is to mark this that he is doing this show, in association with Banquet Records.
But make no mistake, this evening is all about Goldblum himself. The crowd are here to see him and are enjoying every second of the act. Though it is hard to tell whether this is an act - or if it is, whether it is one that Goldblum keeps up 24/7.
From the moment he arrives on stage everything seems both a delight and a surprise to him. After a 10 minute chat with the crowd he casually implies he is just killing time until the band arrive. When they stroll on stage a few moments later he delightedly discards the piece of banter he is engaged in: "Hey, let's play some of that jazz music," he smiles and slides behind his paino.
Over the next 40 minutes he punctuates the songs with other bits of repartee. During the evening he guesses what unusual British foods are (as if he has never visited the coutnry before), gets the crowd to guess whether quotes are from Monty Python or Peaky Blinders and discusses new films and his style choices - he's wearing Prada, Celine and YSL.
But all this charming bonhommie is not as random as it seems, this is a masterclass in giving the people exactly what they want. The Peaky Blinders or Monty Python game segues neatly into the arrival of singer Anna Calvi, who scored the fifth season of the show. The Goldblum act is one he maintains, both onscreen and off. In an interview about the release of Thor: Ragnarok, he said director Taika Waiti let him "give it a bit of the Jeff Goldblum". Like Samuel L Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, he has created the perfect persona and lives the character every day - seemingly loving every second of it.
Goldblum's spotlight-grabbing star power and schtick do not take away from what is some really great music. The tracks from the album are slick and beautifully-performed jazz and among the talented band, saxophonist Scott Gilman produced some truly stunning solos.
As the fourth track comes to an end, Goldblum leaves his piano to cruise around the stage introducing his band - for the second time - as each responds with a burst of solo excellence. But some of this crowd are here to bask in tha aura of Goldblum himsef, there are at least three Jurassic Park t-shirts in the crowd; as if on cue, the band offer a quick burst of the iconic film's theme tune to cheers from the crowd - and a moment of apparently shocked delight from the man himself.
With that, he brings the band off, waves to the crowd, thanks us for coming and leaves.
There are chants of "one more song", but to no avail. For us, at least, the Jeff Goldblum performance is over.
I Shouldn't Be Telling You This by Jeff Goldblum andThe Mildred Snitzer Orchestra is out now. You can get it here.
Photos courtesy of Banquet Records.