MARINA – Orpheum Theater – Minneapolis MN – September 24th 2019
LPX, also known as Elizabeth “Lizzy” Plapinger and lead vocalist of indie pop due MS MR, opened the show. She announced that it was the last show she would be doing with MARINA on tour and promised to go “balls to the f*cking wall” this time. Her enthusiasm was contagious, whipping her hair and bouncing to the beat and interacting nicely with both her bassist and drummer, feeding off each other and building an energy that was almost palpable. Balls to the f*cking wall, indeed.
Of course, the best was yet to come. To the roar of cheering fans dressed in MARINA garb from previous tours and costumes inspired by her previous Froot era, MARINA opened the show with Love + Fear’s first single, “Handmade Heaven.” As she let out the first few notes, the room went from a fever pitch to quiet enough to hear a pin drop. The song effectively set the overall mood for the evening, introducing the use of projectors beaming scenes of nature onto the white set and on top of Diamandis and her dancers, creating an effect not unlike a double exposure in photography.
She followed up with “Hollywood,” a now-classic tune about American excess from her first album, The Family Jewels. Cheerleader pompoms may have been involved. Her choice for the third song was “Primadonna,” the most streamed and well known anthem of her repertoire. Following the first three songs, she announced that the evening, like her new album, would be split into themes of Love and Fear, starting with Love.
From Love, “Hollywood,” “To Be Human,” “I’m Not a Robot” and “Teen Idle” were among my favorites. “I’m Not a Robot” was a welcome reprieve from some of the more overpowering songs as she stood on stage alone and interacted with fans, touching their hands. “To Be Human” mixed a moving and thoughtful melody with projected footage of key moments in international politics, current civil right issues in America concerning pride and Black Lives Matter, and calling for peace in a world divided. Teen Idle stood out as it was one of the few songs without a backing track – it was just Diamandis, the audience, and her piano singing a song they knew so well.
MARINA started out Fear half of her performance with Believe in Love, featuring dancer Molly Horne dramatically dancing with a piece of red cloth, whipping it in the air and performing a sort of duet with it. MARINA really got the party started with Bubblegum Bitch, another fan favorite from her sophomore album Electra Heart. After performing songs Emotional Machine and No More Suckers, she sang an unreleased song from Froot named “I’m Not Hungry Anymore” – this was the only other song without a backing track. Following Karma, she debuted yet another favorite from her first album “Oh No!” before finishing with “Baby,” co-written with her boyfriend Jack Petterson of Clean Bandit.
After a brief recess, the encore began with End of the Earth. The dancing in particular in this song was spot-on; the dancers held glowing orbs in each hand, lighting MARINA and creating evocative shapes with light trails and they twirled and leaped. The night ended on a high note with How to Be a Heartbreaker, her second most streamed song. The audience, comprised largely of LGBT folks, jumped with the rhythm and danced enthusiastically along until the lights faded on the stage and MARINA had said goodbye.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the breadth of MARINA’s song choices and as a fan of hers for more than five years, there were only a few left out that I wished I could have seen live. The set design was minimal but effective in its way to evoke the proper mood for a song and Marina’s voice was simply heavenly to witness firsthand. From the entire show, “Primadonna,” “I’m Not a Robot,” “Teen Idle,” “Bubblegum Bitch,” “Oh No!”, “End of the Earth,” and “How to Be a Heartbreaker” were my favorites for their energy and MARINA’s performance. Here’s to hoping we don’t have to wait as long this time for a new album from her.
Review and photos by Luke Payne