Not surprisingly, Björk fans went berserk when the Los Angeles Philharmonic announced earlier this year a one-night only concert headlined by the Icelandic singer-songwriter at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Typically reserved for the Los Angeles Philharmonic or other classical-music performances, the venue extended a hand to Björk for the May 30 show as a special addition to its Reykjavík Festival.
Headlined as “Björk With Orchestra,” the show proved to be one of the hottest tickets in town — tickets sold out in less than an hour when released in March. For those unable to secure a spot in the 2,000-plus seat venue, here were five iconic, “Björk-iest” moments that occurred at Tuesday night’s performance.
1. Star Power
Though the evening obviously belonged to Björk and the orchestra (“Björk-estra”? Sorry…), there was no shortage of star power in the house. Celebrities such as singer/producer Pharrell Williams, musician Florence Welch, actress Elle Fanning and comedians Nick Kroll and T.J. Miller were spotted in the sold-out audience, apparently having as much fun as the fans.
Björk herself was styled in a dress by London-based designer Micol Ragni and a headpiece created by her frequent collaborator James Merry, though it was her fans who deserved the Best Dressed award. Many were clad in similar attire to the artist in question, with DIY headgear, caged corsets and flower crowns. Surprisingly, no one was seen in a re-creation of the notorious Marjan Pejoski “swan gown” worn by Björk at the 73rd Academy Awards. Perhaps fans have (understandably) moved past that era.
3. Björk “Unplugged”
Björk is an artist that transcends most genres and artforms, though Tuesday’s show was primarily an aural experience. With a 32-piece string orchestra (comprised mostly of LA residents, as stated by the artist on-stage) led under the baton of fellow Icelander Bjarni Frímann Bjarnason, the lush orchestration more than made up for the general lack of visual cues and projections fans were most likely hoping to see. Even so, Björk’s stamina is incomparable — she showed no signs of vocal strain or fatigue throughout the two-hour concert.
4. Staying Power
While it started off strong, the performance got even better as it went along. She began with selections from her most recent studio album “Vulnicura,” including “StoneMilker,” “Lionsong” and “Black Lake.” The real fun, however, commenced after the intermission, which included some of Björk’s most beloved songs, as dictated by the audience reactions (one diehard fan in the front row gave Björk a standing ovation quite literally after every song). The crowd seemed most excited for “Aurora” and “Joga,” both which preluded with massive cheers and some tears.
5. Her Inimitable Charm
Art aside, it was a pleasure just to see Björk at her most whimsical in between sets. She uttered an endearingly charming and pixie-like “thank you!” after each song, even throwing in a “gracias!” once or twice. Her mannerisms while not performing are those of a schoolgirl with a secret, which was all the more reason to see her live.
Before performing her second and final encore selection, she announced that the concert would be the last of her “Vulnicura” tour, which has run on-and-off over the last two years. “I’m very happy I spent it with you,” she said with a smile before ending the performance with “Pluto.”
LA fans who missed Björk this time around will have one more opportunity to see her in July, where she’ll headline the first night of FYF Fest.