Photo credits: via Brooklyn Vegan
Earlier this month Bjork held an extended residency of shows in NYC. Here’s our account:
Review by special guest correspondent Angeleeta Sosnowski
To say I’m a fan of Bjork is a bit of an understatement. A Tuesday night recently at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan was my 7th, or maybe 8th time, to see her live. I have travelled across the country all but one of those times, so obviously my expectations were high.
Several things set her current Biophilia concert series apart from previous shows. The crowd was smaller and very well versed in her music. It was theater in the round, allowing fans to get very close. (I was about 30 feet away from the stage). And despite the impressive technology on display, such as a Tesla Coil that doubles as an instrument, it was the most intimate setting I’ve ever viewed her in.
At promptly 8:30pm Bjork began with the first song off of Biophilia, “Thunderbolt”, featuring the aforementioned Tesla coil. Pitch perfect with album quality sound, Bjork set the tone that this was her story to tell and we were the lucky listeners. She spent the night going through the album, almost in order, with the first big highlight being “Crystalline”, which got most of the crowd moving. It was followed by “Hidden Place”, a song which never fails to disappoint live.
The moment that thrilled me more than any other and solidified her place as the most innovative and unique performer in today’s music was “Generous Palmstroke”. It was performed as a duet with long time harpist Zina Perkins and was stunning display of musicianship. Another amazing moment was a vocal pairing of Bjork and her Icelandic female choir for “Sonnets/Unrealities” from Medulla. After a rousing rendition of “Mutual Core” which had the kids in the balcony jumping and the obligatory chant for encore, Bjork returned and took a moment to introduce her supporting cast. It was the most I had ever heard her speak from stage. She then announced a three song finale which was the highlight of the evening.
Reaching back into her song catalogue, she opened with the ethereal “Possibly, Maybe off of Post”, followed by the primal sounding “Nattura”, rounding out the Biophilia album. Her final song has become her signature closer, “Declare Independence from Volta”. The entire crowd was off their feet, jumping and shouting ‘higher, higher’ as part of the chorus.
After returning back home to Dallas from New York, a long time friend asked me if this was the best show of Bjork’s I’d seen. I honestly replied that Coachella ’07 is still number one, but I enjoyed this experience quite a bit. I told him that this show is so different from anything else I’ve seen show wise, I almost couldn’t count it as a pop/rock concert experience. It was something other, something better. Just like Bjork.