Before you see the `live' life of Tracy Star, upstairs at the King's Arms you're taken through a filmed documentary of her rise and fall…videos, news footage and anecdotes from those who were around back in the day when Madchester took on the world and…"She was the Manc Madonna".
Next up, you're led into a tiny room that seats about two dozen people; turns out it's Tracy Star's bedroom, complete with Bowie and Morrison posters on the wall and a Brentford Nylons duvet. And then in she comes, chatting like an old friend, eyes leading you up the entry of her torrid life as a girl in a man's music wallet.
From dreams of being a star on the grey streets of North Manchester - where the only splash of colour was the orange of Bowie's hair – to a first nervous John Cooper Clarke support gig at the fight-a-night Cyprus Tavern as cans rain down and a Salford bard fan freaks her out going `You're shit' right in front of her mic…With lyrics like `Now the sunrise has gone so blow your nose', who could blame him?
It becomes apparent from this first sketch that Stella Grundy, playing Tracy Star, knows exactly how to immerse her audience directly into the experience. Even though there's only one woman on stage, you're there at the Cyprus dodging the cans and loony Clarke fans with her.
It sets the scene for a rip-roaring journey through how to almost make it and definitely lose it in the music biz – from Strawberry Studios to Jimmy Page's studio; from the sleazy A&R man to The Yank producer telling her to `ditch the band'…to `Sell your soul for rock n roll'.
And then there's the drugs, the crystal meths, the harrowing sleepless, creative-less nights, and the endless, hilarious repetitive crap radio interviews… `How would you describe the music?... `When can we expect some live dates?'… `Has the Manchester backlash affected you?'…`How would you describe the music?... `When can we expect some live dates?'… `Has the Manchester backlash affected you?'
Somewhere along the way, as Tracy Star becomes Pop Star, the music, and the soul, gets lost, ending in rock bottom rehab and more. It's an oft told story and an oft told reality. But Stella Grundy, former front woman to chart band Intastella, captures it to perfection with a mix of Manc banter, top songs, street comedy and psyched out physical theatre.
If you thought Stella was superb re-creating Nico on stage, you ain't seen nothing yet. This is the performance of a lifetime.
It's on at the King's Arms until Friday – DO NOT MISS!!!
The Rise and Fall of a Northern Star
Until Friday 13th September
Kings Arms, Studio One
11 Bloom St, Salford, M3 6AN
7:30pm tickets £7.50 no concessions – click here to buy
For further information see also www.stellaproductions.co.uk
See also Tracy Star Fanzine site - click here
See Salford Star preview with links to You Tube videos click here
Review by Stephen Kingston