review | rosalía live at the O2

Rosalía is a force to be reckoned with. The Spanish superstar played London’s O2 arena on 15 December and blew the crowd away with her powerful vocals and captivating energy. Following the global success of her Grammy-nominated album MOTOMAMI, Rosalía has only excelled to new heights in both her career and sound. Her MOTAMAMI era is a contemporary take on genres like Reggaeton, Bachata and sleek Latin pop so she opened her London show with viral hits Bizcochito and Despechá and crowd favourites like La Fama and Candy. Her opening medley did lack the passionate fire of 2019’s El Mal Querer tour but this was just the warm up. Throughout the show she expertly builds intensity with her expressive vocal runs and atmospheric acoustics, while the bass of songs like Hentai coursed through the crowd like electricity.

Ultimately, Rosalía has mastered the art of performance. The star made a stadium of 20,000 feel intimate and even filled moments of silence with her intense gaze. Like an actress, she pours herself into her stage persona, and delivers heartfelt drama that you’d typically find at the theatre. When it comes to Rosalía’s fans, they knew every word, and if you didn’t understand Spanish then you were missing out on some of Rosalía’s charming chat with her audience. The star’s connection to the crowd, sassy yet sweet stage presence, and her Spanglish monologues on stage were endearing. 

Her playful ensemble of dancers, called ‘motopapis,’ brought every song to life through simple tableaux against the minimal staging of a paper white backdrop. She frequently filmed herself, fans and dancers using a shaky selfie camera projected onto huge screens. When props were used, they became a stage centre piece, like the single barbershop chair that appeared mid-show as Rosalía chopped her pigtails into a bob, seemingly in support of women protesting mandatory hair covering in Iran. Fans were always kept on their toes with the switch in tone and pace. At one point, Rosalía did an on-stage outfit change into a dramatic black skirt. Its train extravagantly spanned the entire stage.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Rosalía’s MOTOMAMI show was the vibrant versatility of genres on display. Her vocals impressively jumped octaves as she experimented with Flamenco inflections and rockstar riffs on Bulerías, she playfully raced around the stage on a scooter for Chicken Teriyaki and commanded crowds with epic ballad Sakura. The energetic audience left the show on a natural high. Rosalía’s MOTOMAMI tour was a visual and sonic delight worth experiencing.

Relive our Schön! 35 cover story with Rosalía here.

photography. Samir Hussein/WireImage courtesy of Sony Music
talent. Rosalía
words. Shama Nasinde

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