By Anthony Velasquez
MARINA, formally known as “Marina and the Diamonds,” blessed us with her Love and Fear tour at ACL live in Austin on September 28. With a high energy opener (Broods) and four contemporary dancers/back up vocalists, MARINA had her life long fans at the edge of their seats. And for those in GA, a nonstop singalong and dancing craze.
Her latest album Love and Fear is a huge contrast from the preceding colorful album, Froot, but stays true to her writing style and lyrics. In many interviews she has expressed that she boiled down her emotions to two things “love” and “fear.” Bringing these ideas into the concert, MARINA and all four of her dancers/back up vocalists nose dived the crowd into a magnificent setlist beginning with “Handmade Heaven,” the first track on Love and Fear.
Life began to fully take form in pop with her next two songs from her first two albums. “Hollywood” and “Primadona.” For “Hollywood” the stage glowed red, white, and blue, and, to the crowds surprise, halfway through the show the silver pom poms were brought out. The song finishes and within five seconds, Primadonna was performed. The crowd went wild and sang word for word.
Midway through the Love set, my favorite song off of Family Jewels was performed. For this, MARINA sat down on the second step of her stage and sang “I’m Not a Robot.” It was pure magic! The crowd and performers all singing a song together about letting you’re guard down and being vulnerable. Do you know the feeling of being in a group swaying back and forth while chanting “Na Na Na Na” at the end of “Hey Jude?” Well if so, the feeling was comparable to that.
“Teen Idle” finished up and, thematically, was perfect. It ended the love and growth portion with a reflection from the Electra Heart album (an angsty MARINA who had the need to express her adolescence, regrets and fear of being alone).
After a small dance number infused intermission and a costume change, MARINA hit the stage in a fitting turquoise outfit, ready for Fear. “Believe in Love” kicked off the second portion of the setlist and, like in Love, the second song was from Family Jewels.
MARINA: “ I just want to know, do we have any Bubblegum B*****s in here?”
Marina: “I thought so!”
To my surprise, “Bubblegum B***h” carried tons of bass. It was the perfect song to enter the Fear portion of the set.“Emotional Machine” was accompanied by vocalist Georgia Nott (from opening act Broods). Sang side by side, MARINA and Georgia exemplified one of many overarching themes in the Love and Fear tour: equality.
One of my favorite songs performed in the whole night was an unreleased song called “I’m Not Hungry Anymore.” The song was originally supposed to be released on the Froot album, but due to production it was cut from the track list. To finish the show, we were given the song that most of us know MARINA by and sang all four rules to “How To Be A Heartbreaker.” An iconic song, for an iconic woman on an iconic night.
When all was sung and danced, I left ACL Live completely inspired and felt like a diamond. The concept of Love and Fear shone through not only MARINA, but her performers as well. With a small white stage and a 20 track set, the crowd and I left feeling like true diamonds.
Featured image by EchoInMexico.