Björk unveiled her ‘Utopia’ show at the 1000-seat Háskólabíó venue in Reykjavík last night. The concert was announced as a “dress rehearsal” for the coming tour, but no such qualification was needed: it was a slick, arena-ready live presentation, with lavish sound, staging, choreography and visuals.
After the anthemic opener “Arisen My Senses,” a masked flute septet emerged from a rotating nest of feathers with an orchid-genetalia centrepiece. They moved in flowing unison around a pastel-coloured stage set, in front of a rippling video backdrop of flowers and natural/digital VR and 3D animated forms.
The ‘Utopia’ album was performed almost in full, with the addition of ‘Biophilia’ track “Thunderbolt,” ‘Medulla’ track “The Pleasure is All Mine,” and an encore of “Notget” and an Icelandic-language version of “The Anchor Song.” Some of the newer tracks were reworked, including an impressively beat-augmented version of “Blissing Me.”
The full ensemble included Katie Buckley on harp, Manu Delago on percussion, and the album’s engineer Bergur Þórisson on backing tracks and beats. Björk flitted around the stage dressed in an insect-inspired red dress that turned iridescent when it caught the light.
It was an immersive live experience with a lush and organic atmosphere that fleshed out the rich sonic and visual world of the ‘Utopia’ album.
There’s one more Reykjavík performance this coming Thursday, then the tour will travel around Europe, including dates at the All Points East, Northside and Primavera Sound festivals.
Read our full cover-feature interview with Björk about the album here.