Castlefield Bowl Manchester
Part of Manchester International Festival, this was the first performance by Bjork of what will presumably be the Vulnicura tour.Bjork was joined on stage by a keyboard and electronics musician and a percussionist plus a 14 piece string orchestra. The show drew heavily on the new album of course but also dipped into the back catalogue with favourites like Hyper-Ballad and The Hunter. It took a while to get going – the new material is reflective and downbeat, and I thought she seemed a little unsure at first. Also the static string section had less musical or visual immediacy than the choir and brass band featured in her last two tours. In truth this was a set less suited to an outdoor venue than her previous ones and I would love to have seen it in a concert hall. Nonetheless as Bjork grew more animated and dramatic and the music got more beat heavy the show as a whole built well. She was in great voice – Army of Me, 5 Years and Wanderlust were especially good. She’s still one of a kind.
Very mixed in age – probably 50/50 gender split and a lot of love for Bjork. Where I was, not too inattentive and chatty given it was an outdoor gig and I feared the worst….
It made me think..
That outdoors is not the best place to listen to an artist of her complexity and subtlety – but nonetheless that she is one of the true originals of our time