Radio City Music Hall
Saturday, February 6
Better Than: Any DJ that played “Dancing On My Own” on Saturday night.
“This is the biggest crowd I’ve pulled myself! Ever!” squealed a thrilled Robyn at the end of the first of two encores during Saturday night’s sold-out performance at Radio City Music Hall. The last time we saw the Swedish gem perform, the night turned into a screaming, dancing mosh pit. Tonight was no different.
As far as pop stars go, Robyn is still in the budding stages of diva-dom. If tonight’s crowd was any indication, her following is cult-like, with heavy loyalties from the gay men who adore her “don’t mess with me” attitude and the women who empathize with her oft heart-wrenching hooks. And while anyone with a radio (or a blog) has unabashedly embraced “Dancing on My Own” for the anthem it is, this is not a woman that pre-pubescent teenage boys ogle on the Internet in their spare time. (As they might her upcoming tour-mate, Katy Perry, for example.) That perhaps is what makes her so endearing to us live. She’s a little rough around the edges onstage: a little older, a little less coy, and a whole hell of a lot giddier than her club-charting peers. She’s relate-able! At least in that way that makes a couple thousand people tonight think, “I know that girl!” and in some cases, “I am that girl!” (I’m including myself in the latter.)
Her quirks really made the night for us, actually. Powered by looming pairs of drum kits and synth setups, almost every song became a battle for vocal reign between the playful singer and her booming choir of fans. Sassy verses of “U Should Know Better” (“than to fuck with me”) were delivered with the deadly precision of a woman scorned, while the equally aggressive “Fembot” was accompanied by a bit more attitude. “Dancehall Queen” came with the occasional wining (something that’s adorable coming from a tiny girl from Sweden) and a vocoded final chorus. The song’s line “I came to dance, not to socialize” rang true for the over-enthused crowd, who had by this point had built themselves a raucous dance floor.
Dancing was big on Robyn’s agenda, too. Her aerobics-styled routines were aimlessly thrown into the mix as she ran back and forth across the stage, slipping once during “Call Your Girlfriend” (without missing a single note) and eventually even making it into the balconies to throw herself into an awaiting mosh pit during “Hang With Me.” Unsurprisingly, the night’s biggest triumphs were here dance anthems: “Dancing on My Own” and “With Every Heartbeat” are the singer’s best songs live as well, if only because their self-deprecating moments are so believable. She closed the show with a full minute of Abba’s “Dancing Queen” before launching into the night’s final encore, “Show Me Love,” one of those songs you almost forgot about until you find yourself singing along to every word. “Don’t you just want to be her best friend?” sighed the girl next to me as Robyn left the stage. Between us, I really do.
Critical Bias: “With Every Heartbeat” really chokes me up. Every single time, without fail.
Overheard: “Is this an intermission?” — a teenager during the onset of the first encore.
Dancing On My Own
We Dance To The Beat
The Girl & The Robot
Call Your Girlfriend
Get Myself Together
Hang With Me
With Every Heartbeat
U Should Know Better
Dancing Queen / Show Me Love