I don’t go to many concerts. I tend to get crabby, whining about seeing zilch from my 5-foot-3 vantage point and cursing at all the stinky, annoying, often drunk people bumping into me. By mid-set, I usually end up dreaming about parking myself back on my couch and diving into all the goodies my DVR has waiting for me. (Insert pitying looks from readers here.)
But when my favorite performers go on tour, I’m freakishly completist. In 2004, I went to eight Siouxsie Sioux shows in less than a month. As my sister remarked at the time, “You’re covering Siouxsie like CNN covers the war.” (Nice one, Jen.) The Godmother of Punk’s closest rival as my all-time most beloved musician is Björk. And what do you know? Iceland’s favorite daughter is currently promoting her new album, Volta. Seeing as I’m in my 30s now, and I’m supposed to be a responsible adult (or something), I’ve decided not to go full-on Christiane Amanpour on Björk’s bee-hind. But I am going to the three New York concerts she’s giving in seven days. The first one, at Radio City Music Hall, happened last night.
And I’m happy to say that I did not think about my DVR once, PopWatchers! The show kicked off with Björk’s new single “Earth Intruders,” the same Timbaland-enhanced ditty she chanted on SNL two weeks ago. Only this time, there were pyrotechnic flames! And an electro-Etch-a-Sketch-ish laser show! And video monitors that ran close-ups of the busy hands of the dudes in her band! (Huh? Whatever, it’s Björk.) Her Icelandic troupe of female horn-players was there too, once again clad in neon Teletubby suits. I figured Björk would take the stage in one of those intergalactic Rainbow-Bright-in-a-warped-chef’s-hat ensembles she wore at the Coachella fest last month (pictured), but no. She went more demure in a shiny orange dress with winged sleeves that slinked just so when she shimmied through numbers like “All Is Full of Love.” Ah… that song. I’ve witnessed it live countless times now, but the divine sound of those violins and beats still made me cry a little last night.
All right, all right, enough of the sap. For a few songs at thebeginning of the set — especially the snowy “Aurora” — Björk’s mic wasup too high. (Come on, soundperson! Björk don’t need no stinkin’ micturned to 11!) All told, she sang six new Voltasongs, which the audience seemed to dig just fine, though none with asmuch crazed, jump-out-your-seat-like-you-might-not-make-it-to-tomorrowgusto as “Declare Independence,” a thrilling anthem that closed out theshow. “Start your own currency! Make your own stamps! DeclareIndependence! Don’t let them do that to you!” she sang, fist-a-pumping.It’s the punk-rockiest thing Björk’s done since her pre-Sugarcubes bandKukl, and she belted it out with such force, I thought she might flyout of Radio City and kick the Danes out of Greenland and the FaroeIslands with her own bare feet. (In previous shows, she’d dedicated thesong to those places, both autonomous possessions of the Kingdom ofDenmark.)
So, one down, two to go. Here’s what I’m wondering: how much will LadyB change the sets from night to night? How might the crowds differ? When my EW buddy Francisco Rosario and I travel up toWashington Heights on Saturday night, will I encounter starry-eyedyoungsters like the one I saw outside Radio City who described her idolto a curious passer-by thusly: “She’s a singer from Iceland — andshe’s beautiful!” And most important, will my Björk Love prove a matchfor my dangerously increasing couch-potato tendencies? Stay tuned,PopWatchers. I’ll be back with a report on Monday.