Reviews

Robyn @ Pacific Coliseum – February 28th 2019

Swedish singer Robyn performing at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, BC on February 28th 2019

My love affair for Swedish singer Robyn goes back to when I was 15. I saw her video Show Me Love on Much Music and the song, although a generic pop song tailored to break her in North America, connected with me ‘cause I was sold on the person. She disappeared in North America shortly after, however, continued to be a pop star with a decent career in her home town of Sweden.

Fast forward to 2010 when she made a comeback to the world with Dancing On My Own. She became bigger than she was in the 90’s. She took the indie route and made dance music that was had more long term sustainability than most EDM that was coming out at the time. Pop music was changing and DJ’s were the new rock stars. She got in just as this was starting. It also helped that her Body Talk Part 1 & 2 album’s were critically received by both Pitchfork and Cos at the time, the new Rolling Stone magazine for the 30 and under. Whatever they wrote at the time was taking with some serious merit.

It’s hard to believe that the manufactured 90’s pop star that unconvincingly sang Show Me Love has now displayed her true passion by crearting really great EDM dance music. She appears more comfortable with this persona and her second chance at an international career that a lot of pop stars from the 80’s and 90’s, who disappear from the North American market, don’t get a chance to have (aside from Kylie with Can’t Get You Out Of My Head).

It’s been almost 10 years since Robyn played Vancouver. The last time was in a small club called Venue, a super sold out show that was impossible to get in. My best friend and I, with some basic Photoshopping skills, forged a fake ticket to the show which actually worked. They did release 3 single tickets at the door, therefore, my best friend and I, even though we had already gotten in with our fake tickets, did do the honest thing and bought tickets at the door. We got the tickets in the first place ‘cause we lined up very early just in case, however, our fake tickets were our back ups. For the record this was the first and only time that we have done this, we needed to be at that show badly. Scalpers had no tickets to the club show ‘cause they weren’t square to the knowledge of Robyn’s popularity at the time.

Unfortunately, I had to sit for this show due to a bad foot injury. As I waited for my best friend to meet me at the box office I was surveying the majority of the crowd, most of whom weren’t even born when Robyn came out in the 90’s and were seeing her for the first time. The people who joined me at the club 9 years ago weren’t there but I guess a lot changes in people’s lives in 9 years like families etc. For a while Peter and I were one of the oldest in the crowd.

The stage was decorated with white linens in different shapes with strategic lighting to make it look like the stereotypical image of heaven. The fabric looked similar to those DIY curtains from IKEA. The minute Robyn strutted her fabulousness on stage in tall silver boots and a matching ivory white outfit to blend with her stage, everything suddenly looked like a scene from a Stanley Kubrick sci-fi movie.

When I first heard that she was playing the Coliseum I was worried about whether the show would connect with the audience, however, she has a distinct onstage charisma that did thankfully translate in a big venue.

Personally, I really like the new album for different reasons, however, I understand that the audience was more responsive and connected more with the Body Talk material. Hearing some of the songs off of Honey gave me a better appreciation for selected tracks. There were moments in which it felt that fans were TRYING too hard to like the new album more than they genuinely wanted to out of good will she built up.

Robyn isn’t the greatest dancer in the room but her personality sells it. It’s that awkward love for the moment that encouraged the audience cheer during those moves. For 90 minutes she had incredible stamina as she was being strategic where it counted.

Sitting in a seat did make me feel a little sad as I really wanted to dance, especially during Dancing On My Own, which metaphorically has been resonating with me lately. In fact seeing everyone on their feet in the stands at the same time during this song broke my heart a lot. The majority of the set list was off of Honey, however, she did play 3 – 4 songs off of Body Talk that made it worth while for most. Everyone was just surprised and thankful that Robyn actually came back to play Vancouver and that the response, although not sold out, was positive in attendance, especially considering that there was a threat of snow that day.

Photos © Jamie Taylor // Cryptic Photography

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