Saturday, March 3, 2012

Live Review - Bjork @ Roseland

To put what Bjork has been doing with her 10-date New York residency for her "Biophilia" project is a rather difficult task. Sometimes the greatest things in life cannot be described, they must be experienced and with what Bjork has crafted and created, is not only far ahead of its time it is something that will be talked about in the music and art community for decades to come.

Biophilia is the record that Icelandic musical princess Bjork released last year, yet, Biophilia is much more than an album - it is an idea, a concept and package. Bjork is never one who is afraid to push boundaries created not only a brilliant record last year but also created the world's first "app album." The "app album" made nearly every song on the record available as an iPad or iPhone app that enhanced the buyers experience with videos, images, stories, lyrics and much more. For the album process, Bjork also crafted and customized brand new instruments and enlisted the assistance of a Tesla Coil to create certain sounds for the album. Now as Biophilia was much more than a record, "Biophilia" the concert residency is much more than a show or gig it is a full on sonic assault of all senses.

Six of the performances took place at New York Hall of Science in Queens last month and the final four dates were held at Roseland Ballroom. Walking into the legendary midtown venue, the entire place was reconfigured and everyone had to do a double take to realize they were in a room they have all been in before. With the stage placed right in the center of the venue and a crown of screens hanging over the stage, you could see the custom instruments bordering the perimeter of the stage and the only thing that could go through your head would be the wonderment of what she is going to do with all of this.

As the house lights dimmed and a narrator explained the "Biophilia" project over the speakers, it was a further understanding that the idea and motif of "Biophilia" is to combine the beauty and elements of nature, music and technology and create magnificent art. Opening with "Thunderbolt," Bjork arrived on stage with a massive red wig and a blue dress that looked like a giant balloon, backed by a chorus of all female singers from her native Iceland, a programmer, percussionist and harpist, "Biophilia" had begun. As her Tesla Coil lowered from the ceiling and began to light up and make the sounds it created on the album, it was immediate that nothing like this had been done before and it is going to be a brilliant night for the spectators to witness.

As the show went on, it told the story of creation of our planet and other planets and how we must protect our natural home. Bjork, who has always been an advocate for science and nature, showed her passion and love without being preachy. Performing her new album from top to bottom with all the effects and imagination involved and adding deep cuts from her albums, Vespertine, Medulla and Post, the pint sized singer stood tall and proud by the end of the night. With the magnificent first set closer, "Solstice," featuring just Bjork using an iPad as an instrument and a pendulum of blocks swinging with strings attached and being plucked by the base that held the crafted instrument up, it put the singers imagination and forward thinking right at the forefront.

As the first set ended and the audience begging for the more, the singer and her accompanying party arrived back on stage for three final songs. While Bjork did not say much to the crowd all night but "thank you," at the end of every song, she finally took time to introduce her fellow musicians and performers on stage. It was then into the Post-era song, "Possibly Maybe," followed by "Nattura," and the Volta anthem, "Declare Independence,"as the epic nights closer. After an hour and forty minutes on stage, Bjork had New York in the palm of her hand and proved why after this residency, "Biophilia" will go down in the history books.

Bjork Night 9 of 10 New York Residency
Roseland Ballroom 3/2/12 Setlist

01. Thunderbolt
02. Moon
03. Crystalline
04. Hollow
05. Dark matter
06. Hidden place
07. Mouth's cradle
08. Virus
09. Generous palmstroke
10. Sacrifice
11. Sonnets / Unrealities
12. Where is the line
13. Mutual core
14. Cosmogony
15. Solstice

Possibly maybe
Declare independence

*Photos of Bjork courtesy of