Robyn Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver BC, February 28

Robyn Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver BC, February 28
Photo: Joshua Peter Grafstein
Robyn's Honey tour stop filled the Pacific Coliseum with pulsating beats and the incredible stage presence of the iconic Swedish singer. Resilience and showmanship were the cornerstones of her show, one that expertly wove tracks from Honey into her back catalogue. The stage was draped in gauzy fabric, evoking the intimacy and lighter-than-air vocals that abound on Honey, with Robyn's bandmates perched around its edges in shimmering attire.
She entered the stage decked out in a metallic dress and boots, pasties affixed to her chest. A push-and-pull occurred with the audience throughout the night — one that Robyn would declare was the best of the tour, yet lacked some engagement with her newer material. Its deep connection with house music could get lost in the cavernous venue at times, yet Robyn's immaculate band created segues between tracks that drew audience members closer and showed them that the gaps between her sonic guises weren't as deep as one may assume.
The show led with "Send to Robin Immediately" straight into "Honey" before a switch was flipped: audience members yelled along with every word of "Indestructible" as Robyn reached toward them, crossing the length of the stage. "Because It's In the Music" positively floated, while "Between the Lines" involved an inimitable dancer who would join her for most of the night, Theo, who crawled along the stage with Robyn to joyous effect.
The energy Robyn exuded seemed never-ending, as she forward-rolled while singing, and danced in every manner possible through a breathless, kick-drum-heavy remix of "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do." For all the pure enjoyment of attending a Robyn show, the heartbreak and grief her music engages with cannot be understated. "Dancing On My Own" prompted such an uproar that Robyn let the crowd sing its first verse and chorus, not one to bask in the cheers as she launched into the second verse with precision. She hugged herself facing the back of the stage, hands sinking into the fabric of her red ensemble, giving an image to the invisibility the song's lyrics depict. "Missing U" hit hard — and undeniably connected with the audience — its arpeggiated synths and Robyn's impassioned vocal delivery as impactful as when she first re-emerged upon the single's release.
Those in attendance at the Pacific Coliseum left Robyn's performance having borne witness to the confidence and vulnerability of a true pop star. Honey's nutrition requires more time to be fully absorbed by some, but Robyn and her ensemble's presentation of the album within her greater body of work was masterful. She possesses the skill to communicate both the ecstasy and profound loss in life. What a gift.

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