Björk shimmers and spellbinds with string orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Björk at Walt Disney Concert Hall -- Photo: Santiago Felipe

Björk at Walt Disney Concert Hall — Photo: Santiago Felipe

Björk Provides All the Feels at Disney Hall
Performance — OMG, indeed”

 

Last night’s Björk’s performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall was absolutely mesmerizing to say the least. Without a doubt, it was the hottest ticket in town. As soon as the show was announced in early March, all of Los Angeles was pining to get their hands on a golden ticket. With standard terrace seats at $109, increasing up to $400 for orchestra, Björk at the Walt Disney Concert Hall was not going to be an achievable goal for everyone. The 2,265 capacity room was filled with a mature crowd full of longtime fans, musicians, actors and film directors.

Upon arriving in Downtown Los Angeles at traffic ‘o’ clock, we were surprised to see that there was absolutely no street congestion. As we exited Grand Ave., it was as though we had driven into a ghost town which is exceedingly rare for DTLA on any given evening. I guess the three-day Memorial Day Weekend had run its course on city dwellers and tourists alike. As we made our way to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the streets came to life. Björk fans were out and about, thrilled to see this Icelandic pixie spellbind us all with her breathtaking vocals and theatrics. There were fans wearing DIY floral masks, shimmering silver jackets and of course women donning Björk’s signature 90s hairstyle. The excitement was thick.

As we made our way to our Orchestra seats, we couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness when we saw the signs that read: “On Björk’s request, please refrain from taking photographs or video.” While I fully support this request, a little part of me melted knowing that I wouldn’t be able to capture just one photo of the mythical goddess, Björk. But when you live in a time where sharing culture and social media has ruined just about every experience, you gotta recognize that these things spoil what is meant to be a unique and emotive series of moments. Not everyone knows the rules of concert etiquette

Björk at Walt Disney Concert Hall -- Photo: Santiago Felipe

Björk at Walt Disney Concert Hall — Photo: Santiago Felipe

Without a wrinkle in time, Björk hit the stage promptly at 8:30 p.m. She followed a 32-piece string orchestra assembled specifically for this concert. Dressed in an eye-catching, all black dress, Björk was welcomed by a sea of adoring fans. She received an immediate standing ovation. Naturally, her wardrobe was on point. The top half of her gown was a fitted and very shiny leather. The skirt of her dress was composed of sheer ribbons that shimmered with different colors every time she moved and hit a new angle of light. But what really put the icing on the style cake, was Björk’s mask. She appeared like a beautiful creature straight out of Pan’s Labyrinth.

After graciously taking in her fans’ cheers, Björk quickly rolled into “Stonemilker” off her 2015 album release Vulnicura. The song truly set the enchanting tone for the evening. From there on, each song that Björk performed was a transcendental lullaby full of lush strings and endless emotion. Björk went on to perform the next five tracks off Vulnicura, including a fairytale-like “History of Touches” where the orchestra truly created an otherworldly environment with their skilled strings. Before entering intermission, Björk woke fans out of their submissive state of catharsis with “Notget.” Icelandic conductor, Bjarnason masterfully led the orchestra through a suspenseful array of sounds that climbed and dropped, clenching your heart at every peak. And we can’t forget Björk’s confident “rrrrr’s,” powerfully rolling her tongue on just about every “r” such as in the word “regret.” As soon as the song came to an abrupt halt, Björk gave a quick “thank you” and ran out the side exit like a fairy on the run.

During intermission, people were in a glorious state of shock. You could hear all the positive chatter coming from the crowded bathroom and bar lines. Some fans were still in tears, fully in an emotional state of what they just experienced. One woman in the bathroom line was puffy around the eyes with rosy cheeks like Santa Claus as she expressed her happiness to a friend: “Oh my god. Oh my god. I can’t believe that just happened.” She then grabbed her friend for a long embrace. It was a sweet moment, and fully revealed the beautiful and unifying effects music can have on an individual.

As we all hustled back to our seats with our bladders empty and our palates refreshed, round two of Björk came through at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with a lusciously pink Björk running out on stage. This time her dress was a sparkling sea of pink layers with a picturesque crystal mask. Her thigh high boots looked like pink accordions and gave the petite songbird at least six more inches of height. The boots were cute, but they were also a pain in the ass. Björk, without embarrassment, was constantly hiking her boots back up to where they should be. It was quite the endearing accent.

Björk at Walt Disney Concert Hall -- Photo: Santiago Felipe

Björk at Walt Disney Concert Hall — Photo: Santiago Felipe

As the sweet intro of “Aurora” made its entrance, fans cooed in excitement to hear the angelic song off Björk’s 2001 Vespertine record. Björk danced, swayed and stomped around in her platform boots, taking fans through a nostalgic journey with songs like “I’ve Seen It All” and “Bachelorette.” But the song that really struck a chord for me, and many in the room, was hearing and seeing “Jóga” performed live. In tune with the song’s lyrics, “emotional landscapes” were indeed protruding from all corners of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. My head was swaying to the rhythm of the song, and I couldn’t help but feel at complete ease. Even the kicking baby who has been living in my belly for 32 weeks now seemed to have entered that same state of euphoria. We were calm, we were enamored and we were in a complete state of bliss.

Watching Björk perform on stage was like living a fantasy. Her quick and precise movements warmed our hearts. At times she would take sips out of her champagne flute. The man sitting behind me couldn’t help himself and each time Björk took her dainty sip, he would dotingly whisper, “OMG” or “I love her.”

While Björk wasn’t one for many words during the first half of her Walt Disney Concert Hall performance, she did take the time to thank Los Angeles during the latter half of her set. She also pointed out with a cute giggle that the orchestra was made up of “93 percent locals” — a word that Angelenos so often use. “And the conductor, Bjarnason is from my country,” revealed Björk with a smile.

Wrapping up her set, Björk encored with “The Anchor Song” off her 1993 Debut album,
and “Pluto” off 1997’s Homogenic. And just like that, Björk was gone with the wind. We all stood and clapped, roared, and hoped she’d return for one more song, but the house lights came on and we knew what time it was.

Björk’s performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall was superb, absolute perfection. She performs next in Los Angeles at FYF Fest on Friday, July 21st. While FYF can’t compare to a setting like the Walt Disney Concert Hall — if you’re a die-hard fan — we highly recommend you catch Björk at FYF. Even if you’re staring at a jumbotron …

Words: Sandra Olinger

Björk at Walt Disney Concert Hall — Photo: Santiago Felipe

Set list: Björk at Walt Disney Concert Hall

 
Stonemilker
Lionsong
History of Touches
Black Lake
Family
Notget
(intermission)
Aurora
I’ve Seen It All
Jóga
Vertebrae by Vertebrae
Bachelorette
Quicksand
Mouth Mantra

Encore:
The Anchor Song
Pluto

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