The Hollywood Bowl is one of the most famed venues in the country. Elton John. The Beatles. Billie Holliday. Pavarotti. The Doors. Avicii. Many of the most celebrated names in music history have had a turn to take their place under the iconic band shell and look out across the MASSIVE amphitheater. The view has got to be breath taking. Best part about the Hollywood Bowl? It’s BYOB. I walked in with a bag of wine and the only thing the security had to say was, “Ooh, I love Sunset Blush!”
After months and months of anticipation, the day had come for the Scandinavians to bring their magical electro-pop album to Los Angeles. The show sold out months ago – just over 17,000 ecstatic fans filed in early on the Sunday evening. We didn’t want to miss a single thing, especially not the lesser-known of the two acts: Norwegian downbeat duo Röyksopp. These guys have been around since the 90’s and their dreamy, downtempo house sounds have never faltered. The duo have been longtime collaborators with Robyn (even back on Body Talk in 2010).
Röyksopp’s core duo of Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland started the evening elegantly as the well-oiled fans to their seats. Echoing the tact of their fellow European duo, Röyksopp donned some sweet sequin facemasks that we think Kanye would be jealous of.
The sun had just disappeared when she joined them on stage. Commanding the enormous stage despite her itsy-bitsy size, Robyn had the crowd in the palm of her hand. She was dressed in some hockey-warm-up-chic attire and seriously rocking the shit out of a She-Mullet. There is no question that this neo-pop diva has an identity all her own. Many of us had been waiting our whole lives to hear these songs, and as she unfurled them one-by-one the excitement only grew.
The energy swelled first when the driving synth intro of “Indestructible” rang out. It was now dark enough for production to step it up a notch, so there were many lights and lasers involved at this point. With girl power at an all-time high, Robyn launched into the strangely triumphant and intensely relatable ballad “Call Your Girlfriend”.
It’s hard to get a massive crowd of too-cool-for-this LA music fans riled up, but she had everybody going HAM. Security guards are dancing in the aisles, people up on benches, and jugs of rosé being passed around with a friendly “Girl, you want some? (We left our first names at home, everybody was “Girl” that night.)
Robyn took the opportunity to share two new tracks that evening as well. Though we don’t know the official titles yet, the Internet has dubbed them “Set Me Free” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQpakRCSmPM) and “Love Is Free” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl8Sb1XD0ho) — both equally eligible for the next Swedish-dance-pop-anthem-of-the-year award. Some of the most evocative moments of her set came on unexpected numbers, including my personal favorite “With Every Heartbeat”.
When the first chords of “Dancing On My Own” rang out, the crowd went into overdrive. We are all Hannah and Marnie dancing in the bedroom at this moment. The whole set was such a gratifying dance party, I don’t know how I’ve gone 25 years without it.
Robyn scurried off stage as the music swelled into the dizzying style of “Sayit”. One quick change later and she was back on stage donned in sequins and platform sneakers. The opening sequence included a strange sit-up gyration bit by Robyn that was sort of entrancing in a weird way. Some boring girls next to me were a bit turned off but seriously WHATEVER. Robyn is weird AF and that’s why we like her.
Methodically working through their entire mini-album, this trio (and their sequin-masked backing band) ignited The Hollywood Bowl into the Swedish dance party we had all been looking forward to. With only 5-6 solid numbers to perform, they let each song grow and shift. They slowed down the nostalgic “Monument” to give the evening a moment of jazzy sensuality. Though “Do It Again” was one of the more epic sing-a-longs of my life, my favorite track of their set was the pleading, 90’s-style heartbreaker “Every Little Thing”.
This show was one of the more electrifying concert experiences I’ve had since moving to Los Angeles. The crowd was present—heart and soul. It was such a treat to watch Robyn and Röyksopp’s brilliant dynamic come to life. All we can hope for after such an amazing experience is for MORE. More music, more tour dates, more sequins.