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Concert Reviews:
Bjork Waves A Proudly Independent Flag At The Fox
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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DETROIT -- Bjork waited until the end of her concert Tuesday night (Sept. 11) at the Fox Theatre to urge her fans to "Raise your flag! Higher! Higher!" And that was exactly what she'd been doing for the previous 90 minutes.

The Icelandic singer's concerts are as unique as her music, individualistic and idiosyncratic, blending performance art inventiveness with playful abandon and a stark musical sensibility that's utterly without peer. A strong visual concept was at work Tuesday as well; with a stage festooned with banners and flags, as well as a long red kite floating in the back corner, Bjork's concert looked like a tribal festival, accented by her colorfully dressed 10-piece all-female brass section, which also hailed from Iceland, and a laser show that would make Pink Floyd take notice.

What can get lost in all this, however, is the fact that Bjork can genuinely sing, with a facile voice that dominates even the heaviest electronic touches deployed underneath them. Fortunately there were moments in the 18-song set -- supporting her latest album, "Volta" -- that provided rich vocal showcases, including "The Pleasure is All Mine," "Joga" and "Pagan Poetry," a rendition of "Cover Me" accompanied only by keyboards and an encore version of "Anchor Song" performed just with the horns.

A mid-show pairing of "Earth Intruders" and "Army of Me" brought a banging rave flavor to the evening that surfaced again later on with "Hyperballad" and a particularly intense performance of "Pluto." "Wanderlust" built from a gentle start into a powerful climax, while "Desired Constellation" conveyed a jazzy sense of improvisation within its arrangement.

You'd be hard-pressed to find anything quite like this -- to Bjork's inestimable credit. And by the time she finished things with "Declare Independence," which found opening act M.I.A. helping out on the electronics rig, Bjork had earned every right to encourage the dancing Fox crowd to "make your own flag." Hers, after all, was flying high.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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