Thursday, August 5
The All Hearts Tour, featuring co-headliners Robyn and Kelis, made its final stop last night at a Webster Hall filled with very, very sweaty men. Both women are best known for chart-topping hits of yesteryear (“Show Me Love” and “Milkshake,” respectively), but tonight’s dampened crowd was there for the new.
“We control the dance floor,” chanted the audience at the onset of Kelis’ performance. Squeezed into a metallic-blue jumpsuit with a sparkling, black, Egyptian-styled hairpiece, the r&b-turned-dance maven took the stage to a blaring light show. A megamix of hits followed, not all of them technically hers: A chorus of Madonna’s “Holiday” led into “Milkshake”; Old Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money” was immediately followed by “Trick Me” and rounded out with the new “Acapella.” The blinding neon lights and chorus-shouting audience put on as much of a show as the singer herself, though she’d taken maybe two steps off the stage and the chant for Robyn had already begun. (Sorry Kelis, we love you too.)
“I’ve got some news for you,” Robyn was soon shouting in that pointedly pouty Swedish accent we love; “Fembots have feelings too!” screamed back the now shirtless gaggle of gay men standing next to me. The beat kicked in, turning the floor into a free-for-all moshpit, while Robyn shrugged off a black leather jacket to reveal a cropped, black bustier. Tracks from her new Body Talk Pt. 1 hit just as hard live thanks to the star’s massive stage presence: She nonchalantly peeled a banana (and took a bite) as the electro-pop jam “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do” ticked off a list of life-threatening annoyances, and shimmied across the stage during “Dancing on My Own.”
Lyrically, the new tracks maintain her time-honored sense of longing and tween-friendly heartbreak: “You don’t see me standing here/I just came to say goodbye,” “Love hurts when you do it right/You can cry when you get older.” And while most of these songs could easily go astray, mired in angst and self-pity, instead they’re somehow imbued with an awesome, infectious sense of girl power. She calls forth some mash-up of Pat Benatar’s no-nonsense attitude and Cyndi Lauper’s devotion to breezy fun, blending them into one fantastic dance party. At the very least, we’re willing to be distracted by the catchy choruses, including the oddly mixed and weirdly empowering “I run this thing like a dancehall queen.” Onstage, Robyn sways back and forth, low to the ground, skanking in the corner with the drummer, jerking and throwing her hands up in the air. The night finally, and sadly, came to a close with the epic “With Every Heartbeat,” triggering a crowd sing-along and flurry of kisses from Robyn onstage. The sweat-laden boys next to me, oblivious to the deafening applause and hollers, were still hugging each other and swaying in time for a full minute after our favorite Swedish sweetheart left the stage.