BACKSTAGE at any concert is always a high-pressure environment.
At Alicia Keysâ€™ performance at Nimes, in the south of France, a whole world of catering, crew and costumes intersect with the clock ticking down to stage time.
In a not-so-glamorous portable container, Keys is in glamour mode.
Her make-up artist has just left and Keys is finishing the job herself.
â€œI do my own make-up at festivals,â€ Keys admits, juggling eyeliner. â€œYouâ€™d be surprised how much this all costs.â€
Her As I Am world tour is the biggest live production she has undertaken â€“ in arenas and at festivals including Australiaâ€™s A Day On The Green winery circuit.
It is a touring luxury you can indulge when youâ€™re an artist who still sells copious quantities of albums; As I Am debuted at No.1 in the US with nearly 750,000 first-week sales.
The Nimes show is stripped down by her standards, but still includes a revolving piano and a huge band who bring Keysâ€™ three hit albums to life.
With Keys, a musician who happens to be a pop star, thereâ€™s plenty of freedom â€“ her Prince cover How Come You Donâ€™t Call Me Anymore runs for nearly 20 minutes with each band member getting the obligatory introduction and solo.
Success has seen her move from Prince fan to Prince friend.