Whether on a scooter, all-fours, or mounted on an interlocked human motorcycle, Rosalía was riding high at the first of two performances at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on Sunday night (September 19th). It was just the second concert on the US leg of her ongoing “MOTOMAMI World Tour” (tickets here), and the 29-year old Spanish singer-songwriter was completely locked in.
The show opened with a total sensory annihilation that seemed fully intended to knock the audience out of their saddles in preparation for the night’s exhilarating and unpredictable thrill ride. The tour’s strobed-out intro song “Matsuri-Shake” by the Japanese all-girl punk band Ni Hao proceeded with such an unrelenting and destabilizing force that the air seemed to be sucked out of the theater, only to be immediately replenished when thunderous engine rumbles heralded Rosalía’s arrival on hands and knees, flanked by her dance squad of “motopapis” in glowing motorcycle helmets.
Rising above the crew and dispatching her headgear, Rosalía launched into the MOTOMAMI opener “SAOKO,” whose demanding vocal swerves and sudden twists into jazz were navigated effortlessly by the singer and accomplished dancer.
Rosalía showcased that same command through her constant interplay with a roaming steadicam that gave the whole production a cinematic feel. The vocalist typically stood behind a stark-white sheet with two adjacent screens projecting the 360-degree view of the stage, which sometimes revealed the rabid, adoring crowd while also inviting them in distressingly close for her most emotionally wrenching moments.
This all-encompassing affair was on display early as Rosalía threw out her viral, unimpressed face, despite clearly having a blast during “BIZCOCHITO,” or while she literally pulled herself up from the ground on an Abel-less rendition of the unrequited love banger, “LA FAMA.”