At the Hollywood Bowl
Sat., Oct. 23
Better than… Dancing/drinking/cruising the pain away on a West Hollywood dance floor.
Robyn's fanbase is about 80% gay men. It's not hard to figure out why. She's the definition of “fierce” on stage, donning wild, androgynous '80s-style get-ups, busting moves that put Beyonce to shame, and singing her obviously love-scarred heart out like it's the last time she'll ever get the chance.
More importantly, the music she's crooning and krumping to is some of the catchiest electro-pop being made. The sassy Swede has easily filled mid-size venues like The Music Box and Nokia, but her packed-to-the-hills Hollywood Bowl date Saturday marked a transcendent moment for the singer. Robyn is a superstar who has the goods to go beyond queer club disco diva. She brought it and then some Saturday night.
Norwegian electronic duo Royksopp opened, and the headliner came out early to perform with them. Unfortunately, we missed this part — not to mention Jason Bentley's opening DJ set. We forgot our tickets at home and only realized it after parking inside the Hollywood & Highland shopping structure up the street. (We've all done it, right?) Needless to say, fighting traffic into Hollywood, twice, is not fun. We weren't in the best mood by the time we hiked up to the Bowl, but, Robyn had the Rx to cure that real quick. The crowd's giddy vibes helped too.
Opening with “We Dance to the Beat” — off of her best selling, Body Talk, Pt. 2 — Robyn rocked it from the get-go. Two infectious tracks followed, “Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do,” and “Fembot.” By the time she got to her Diplo-produced “Dancehall Queen,” the Teddybears cover, “Cobrastyle,” and then her biggest hit, “Dancing On My Own,” the Bowl was bouncing with joy.
A block of her more emotional numbers about heartbreak including “Indestructible,” and “Love Kills” kept the intensity high. Both are synthy-sexy sort of mid-tempo stompers, but the mixes were heavier here. Backdropped by rave-y lazers, vibrant LCD screens and the Bowl's historic shell, the renditions were hypnotic.
The bells and whistles never overshadowed the performer herself, though. Unlike other pop divas (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears), Robyn doesn't rely on backup dancers, a zillion costume changes or cheesy props. Okay, there was a guy dressed like a robot who came out at one point, and an unfortunate change into an Astro-turf-ish boobie-ball dress by Jeremy Scott during the encores. But Robyn's empowering lyrics and stage swagger make her get-ups irrelevant.
The enormity of playing the Bowl likely inspired the star to give an extra epic show. Royksopp came out and joined her on the second encore, which included their collabs, “None of Dem” and “The Girl and the Robot.” The lights came on after that, prompting many to leave. Not sure if it was planned this way, but hardcore fans who stayed were treated to another encore featuring old, new and even a cover of ABBA's “Dancing Queen,” which had everyone in the Bowl passionately singing along. It was the perfect choice too. Like her fellow Swedes, Robyn's prolific pop gems and stellar performances suggest music royalty that will endure.
The crowd: Boy's boys and female friends who wonder why they can't find a straight guy as great as “their gays.”
Random Notebook Dump: Musicians really step it up when they play the Bowl. We can't remember seeing a bad show there.
Set list below.
We Dance to the Beat
Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do
Dancing on My Own
Call Your Girlfriend
In Your Eyes
Hang with Me
With Every Heartbeat
None of Dem (with Röyksopp)
The Girl and the Robot (with Röyksopp)
Show Me Love