Robyn - Alexandra Palace [Live Review] ‘Not a gig... a life experience’

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ROBYN


ALEXANDRA PALACE [12/04/19]

When Robyn made her long-awaited return to London last week, the results were simply glorious.

★★★★★

It may sound cliché but Swedish pop sensation Robyn’s long-awaited and I really mean long-awaited (a whole 8 years!) return to British shores was more than worth the wait. This wasn’t simply a standard run of the mill music gig or performance… this was a full-blown life experience. 

I say this with no exaggeration, in all my years attending live shows I’ve never seen a concert like it. A show in which the performance and audience melded together and acted simply as one. From the electric atmosphere to the tens of thousands of bodies throwing their arms into the air, and shaking their bums down to the floor. This cohesion was present from the very first note, with no one stopping their groovy dance moves until Robyn had left the stage, for the third and final time of the evening, as the second encore rolled on you felt as if security would have to physically separate her from the stage.

But let's get back to the reason thousands flocked to the mighty Alexandra Palace to see Robyn in the first place. After an extended hiatus from touring (bar the odd side project here and there), Robyn returned with the critically acclaimed ‘Honey’. A record which has only gotten sweeter since its release last year. Two of its superb singles kicked off the proceedings. ‘Send To Robin Immediately’ instantly got the crowd amped up and put anticipation at fever pitch, achieved by a fantastic backing band that truly highlighted the intricate practically club-like dance instrumentals that lie underneath the new record.

When the Swedish pop sensation shortly broke out into the ‘Body Talk’ classic ‘Indestructible’ did proceedings really take an unexpected and elevated turn. Indescribable energy was rippling through the air as if everything had been turned up to 11 as men and women through every piece of themselves into the song, flowing tears, passionate kisses. It was overwhelming to see one of the ‘non-chart’ singles provoke such a remarkable reaction. 

Extended outros and rave like scenarios kept everyone on their toes as Alexandra Palace transformed from arena pop to a wild club rave and euphoric melancholic sad-bops… and all the way back around again multiple times throughout the evening. The inclusivity was also beautiful to see, no matter shape, size, sexual orientation or gender, everyone was showing love and support… Robyn was certainly not dancing on her own and neither was anyone else.

This intensity refused to diffuse for both Robyn and the audience for the rest of the evening as newer material such as the wondrous ‘Ever Again’, older material like ‘Stars-4-Ever’ and intense rave remixes ‘Love Is Free’ intertwined at a breathtaking pace for an intense 90 minutes of love and music.

Whilst your body moved with an uncontrollable free will, your eyes were intensely fixed upon Robyn herself whose free motion and feverish passion was simply captivating. Each song bought a completely natural, spontaneous reaction whether it was throwing herself to the floor, galloping like a horse or literally ripping her clothes off.

Of course, all of this somehow paled in comparison to the reactions of the mega-hits which made Robyn the dance-floor queen we see before us. ‘With Every Heartbeat’ and ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ brought with them unprecedented joy, however, it was ‘Dancing On My Own’ that truly blew the roof off. Robyn looked genuinely touched as the first verse/chorus was bellowed out acapella by the thousands before Robyn herself truly unleashed with a wild, ferocious and beautiful fury upon the track, her limbs like elastic as she let herself become one with the songs beat.

Tonight felt special, this was one of those truly once in a lifetime gig moments. As I started my descent away from the Palace and towards the train station I was left feeling deep joy but also a slight tinge of sadness… why can’t every gig be this special? I thought, but then that’s what made tonight so special, those ingredients can only come together in such unique circumstances and let’s be real… there is only one Robyn after all but tonight she wasn’t dancing solo that’s for sure.


Setlist:

Send to Robin Immediately
Honey
Indestructible
Hang With Me (Paola cover)
Beach2k20
Ever Again
Be Mine!
Because It's in the Music
Between the Lines
Love Is Free (Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique song)
Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do (The Mekanism Remix)
Dancing on My Own
Missing U
Call Your Girlfriend

Encore:

Trust Me (Mr. Tophat cover)
Stars 4-Ever
With Every Heartbeat

Encore 2:

Human Being
Who Do You Love? (Kindness cover)