Rosalia Review, Lisbon: A maximalist, high-energy show secures her star status

How do you stage an album like moto mommy? Released in March, the album fueled Rosalia’s journey to international fame. Their third record was a syncretic triumph: a spirited combination of reggaeton, bachata, salsa, flamenco, hip-hop, electro-pop, latin-pop, pop-pop – all bundled up in a padded leather motorcycle jacket. It swept the Latin Grammys earlier this year. But all these influences: how would they flow together in a cavernous arena? Remarkably, it turns out.

Rosalia appropriately takes the stage at Lisbon’s Campo Pequeno, preceded by the thunderous sound of an engine starting. The crowd follows and roars to life. Rosalia emerges from a makeshift vehicle; It’s a cohort of dancers dressed in form-fitting mesh tops and glowing helmets that move as one. At another point in the show, they move into a motorbike with Rosalia riding. Think transformers but sexy. The set, like the album, begins with “Saoko”. It’s a skull-jarring introduction, the avant-jazz interlude, the distorted piano, and the synth bass line that highlights the mutability of her music and of Rosalia herself. “I am very me; I’m changing,” she explains. “I am everything; I transform.”

Throughout the two-hour set, Rosalia’s presence is unwavering. She rules the stage with ease. It’s in the rustle of her hair, the crooked arch of a single brow, the commendable control of her twerking. (Holes have been cut in the armpits of the leather jacket she wears to allow maximum freedom of movement). That command is taken literally on the sultry pop bachata “La Fama”. Dancers follow Rosalia like an adoring, amorphous speck. They sink to their knees and look up at her. If she moves, they move. “Candy” is another of their slower songs, a ballad about an old flame with a flickering dembow beat that’s even more rousing when played live.

The energy never lets up. Songs are delivered like electric shocks, either as quick punches to the brain or a slow hum of energy. The crowd of 10,000 happily goes about their backup duties. “Ta-ra-rá, ta-ra-rá, ta-tá,” they chant, alternating with Roasalia’s distorted vocals in “Bizcochito.” The opening chords conjure up a sea of ​​phones as viewers hope to capture the now-viral TikTok moment for themselves. Rosalia stands, hand on hip, clapping imaginary gum and looking huge, hilariously unimpressed.

The minimal set is in stark contrast to their maximalist music. A stripe of white runs across an otherwise bare stage; the sparseness lends the process an artistic, furry atmosphere. Occasionally, this flick projects a simple video reminiscent of computer screen savers from the 1990s. For example, “Hentai” is performed against the backdrop of a sunset against some green hills. Not that anyone is looking. All eyes are on Rosalia as she sits down at the piano. The instrument appears on stage at some point during “Diablo”. It replaces the barber chair on which a make-up artist has just retouched the singer as she sits slumped like a boxer going into the ninth round. On previous tour dates, Rosalia has cut her hair on stage (Marina Abramovic, who?), but tonight the scissors remain untouched.

(Pedro Gomes)

“Hentai” might be the dirtiest song on the album, but it’s made holy by Rosalia’s flawless soprano. Riding a male “Pistola” has never sounded so demure. It’s hard to name a current singer with a voice as interesting as Rosalia’s, capable of bursting out into the kind of cascading melisma that’s less and less heard these days. When she does, like on “Dolerme,” the crowd calms down and lets her do her thing. Maybe out of reverence. Maybe because nobody else can hit that damn high note.

In one moment, Rosalia descends from the stage to greet her fans. The footage that played on the big screens all night becomes haphazard as the feed switches from that of the videographer on stage to the mini camera cradling Rosalia in her arms. Suddenly, from the first-person perspective, we see her graciously collecting teddy bears and flowers from the front row. For a full minute, the camera stares past Rosalia’s chin into her nose. For another minute we only see the sleeve of her motorcycle jacket as she hugs a fan. It’s intimate and familiar: two things you never expect from a world touring show. When Rosalia invites a lucky fan onto the stage, he does the only thing left to do as he approaches her: bow.

Tickets for the Rosalia Motomami World Tour are available now. The show arrives at the O2 in London on December 15th Rosalia Review, Lisbon: A maximalist, high-energy show secures her star status


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