Björk Main Stage, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa ON, July 13
Published Jul 14, 2013From her "no cameras" policy to her knotty set list, non-existent stage banter and minimalist reworkings of her catalogue, Björk's Ottawa debut would have been a difficult one to absorb — if it all simply wasn't so absorbent. Joined by Matt Robertson on electronics, the superb Manu Delago on percussion and a dozen female back-up singers from Iceland, Björk greeted the audience adorned in flowing robes and wearing a scaled-back version on her Biophilia wig.
Filling the first third of her 15-song set with tracks from her latest album — with an ambient retelling of Homogenic's "Hunter" thrown in — Björk swanned across a stage that was surrounded by five backdrop LCD screens projecting images of the heavens and earth and a fully-functioning(!) Tesla coil descending from the roof. Focusing on her early material for the remainder of the set, including stripped-down renditions of "Hidden Place," "Jóga" and "Possibly Maybe," the on-stage energy became exponentially heightened due to an euphoric version of "Hyperballad" that found Björk joining the 12 girls for an impromptu dance party. Ending the night with the always-fiery "Declare Independence," Björk left the audience with a performance that, perhaps to the dismay of casual fans, was delivered utterly and absolutely on her own terms.