Robyn Provides the Perfect Pop Sanctuary on Honey Tour in NYC: Review
Concerts are supposed to be (and in most cases, are) a safe space where fans and casual attendees alike can let go of stress and lose themselves in the music. Perhaps no artist embraces this concept more than Robyn. At one point during her Honey Tour stop at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on July 19, as she sang “Dancing On My Own,” the music completely cut out — but the crowd kept on singing the anthemic chorus, word for word, united by the all-too-common feeling of dancing the pain away. Robyn took it all in with pride, giving herself a hug before that throbbing beat kicked in again.
The Swedish pop sensation has long felt underrated within the pop sphere, even though she has perfected the craft of feverish electro-pop that makes you both cry and dance, and her influence can be heard from today’s younger pop artists despite Robyn’s (frustrating) lack of Billboard chart hits. But on the Honey Tour, she has received her due, especially considering this was actually the tour’s second NYC stop, following a headline show at Madison Square Garden in March.
The Honey Tour, much like the album it supports, feels loose and soft, with moments of simmering emotion and near-religious catharsis. But as a whole, it’s immaculately crafted and impeccably structured to feel like both a grand event and an intimate night with friends, with Robyn as the nurturing leader of the pack. The show plays as the sonic story of a night out: the slow burn of opener “Send to Robin Immediately” morphing into the hypnotic “Honey” is the pulsing calm before the storm, before glittering hits “Indestructible” and “Hang With Me”, each with some added ‘70s groove, kick things up a notch.
As the show went on, Robyn’s signature moves got increasingly more buoyant and bombastic, and she truly threw it down during “Between the Lines” and “Love Is Free,” the hard-hitting club peak. Then came the night’s emotional catharsis: a triple whammy of “Dancing On My Own,” “Missing U,” and “Call Your Girlfriend,” during which this writer’s heart and soul left its body, then returned, covered in tears and glitter.
The show’s encores played like the slow comedown of a riotous night out as the club keeps pumping, just a bit more softly. The second encore addressed the anxious thoughts that always creep up at 4AM, with the haunting electro ballad “Human Being” and closer “Who Do You Love?” being the most understated emotional moments of the show.
The title of the evening’s last song is usually a tough question to answer, but Brooklyn had a quick response: “You!,” everyone screamed to Robyn at near-deafening noise levels. “That’s good, because I love you too,” she responded, with a joyous smirk on her face. It was one of the few things she said to the crowd that night, but it was all that was necessary. Robyn proved on stage that she has formed a connection with people through her music that others could only wish to replicate. Now, all she has to do is dance it out with them.