Björk from the Vulnicura cover shoot by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
One of seven sold-out New York shows, Sunday’s performance was at the Kings Theatre, a recently renovated former movie palace from 1929 that is gorgeous and the perfect setting for this brilliant performer.
Björk was accompanied by her co-producer Arca (Alejandro Ghersi), percussionist Manu Delago, and Alarm Will Sound, a 15-piece chamber band (loads of strings). Dressed in a white ensemble and sporting a headpiece of quills that obscured her face, she swayed across the stage, moving her hands and arms in rhythmic response like a ballet dancer.
The first set was comprised of six songs from her new album, Vulnicura, beginning with “Stonemilker” and ending with “Notget.” While Björk sang, “animated notations” were projected onto a screen above the stage. The combination of sound and visual was almost hypnotic. I haven’t purchased Vulnicura yet, which in a way turned out to be a good thing as I got to experience the songs for the first time live.
After an intermission, Björk returned to the stage, hair down and wearing a short dress, to sing two more songs from Vulnicura along with songs from her other albums including “All Neon Like” and “Come to Me,” a personal favourite (although I could have done without the video of two snails mating). She rarely spoke save for an occasional "thank you" or "gracias" and to introduce the musicians on stage. For her final encore she sang “All is Full of Love,” which aptly describes how the audience felt about Björk.
I didn’t take any photos of the show. There were signs posted on the doors asking the audience not to at Bjork’s request because it was distracting and that she wished us to enjoy being part of the performance, “not preoccupied with recording it.” And that is exactly what I did.