One of my best friends a few ago once told me that Bjork was trying too hard. I instantly began to object, no matter that we were in the middle of eating.
"Honestly Jenz, don't you think she's just doing what she's doing for the sake of it? Like, 'I'm going to be all awkward and shit because I can?' It's almost as if she's ahead of her own time," she said as I desperately tried to say something while swallowing a tasty sandwich.
Six years later, we have a convert.
Bjork's Shoreline Amphitheatre show proved that while she can be experimental and out there, she doesn't do it for the sake of her craft more so than to enhance it. For my being a gigantic fan of the Icelandic goddess herself, I was still blown away by epic proportions just to how much she nailed her set, clocking in at almost two hours.
Opening act Joanna Newsom was a great fit for starters, her creaky, childlike voice overlying the sharp plucks of her golden harp that stood taller than her. Text messages projected on the screens above her read "dear joanna newsom, please marry me. love, the guy on the lawn" and "kim, meet us @ the car after the show. hope you score with aaron." Classy.
Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer volume of visual overload Bjork and company was going to bring. It looked like a medieval parade in the royal court of the intergalactic dynasty. The kids in her orchestra, the oldest not looking more than sixteen, were wearing shiny neon sacks of color with a flag attached to their heads. This coupled with a background of large banners with royal crests and arms, and Bjork's arrival to the stage in a blue cap with silver footless tights was just too much. I could already go home having seen the amazingness of her wardrobe.
"Earth Intruders" was the opening song, a shattering ruckus of horns and voices clashing in seeming harmony and discord. I was astounded to find out Bjork's voice was filling the 50,000 capacity venue with the greatest of ease; I felt like I was in the first row up and center. Her pipes live produce a voice still achingly strong, violent, and heartbreaking. Her band uses equipment that after 120 minutes of staring at, I still don't know what they do - oddly shaped knobs and light tables shouldn't make the distortions and sounds they do by the mere taps they seemingly are subjected to.
Prime selections of the night included "Pagan Poetry," Bjork's voice piercing through the low mumble of air and crowd whispers straight into the hearts of the audience, the "I love him" line at the end just totally fucking killing me. "Army Of Me" was transformed into an electro sex buffet full of deep bass and heavy (I mean, heav-vy) synthesizers I thought would totally blow out the P.A. system. "Oceania" and "Innocence" also showcased the tight cohesion between band and singer wonderfully, but not before the second half of "Hyperballad" was turned into an impromptu rave.
Bjork is the gift that just keeps on giving. I walked out of the show completely spent and satisfied (I totally cried at one point during this ballad with a xylophone). Bjork is weird. That I acknowledge. But she's weird in such a beautiful way it's hard to look in the other direction.
By Jenn Hernandez