As Robyn enters the stage halfway through opener ‘Send to Robin Immediately’ it appears to be a hugely cathartic moment for her. She stands there bathed in icy white light, eyes closed, singing the beautifully melancholic pop song, both preparing for the night ahead and drinking in the love already pouring forth from the audience, finding her connection within a 10,000 strong crowd.
As she glides into the title track to her first album in eight years ‘Honey’, she remains subdued. Much like the majority of her music, there is duality here between the serenity of the singer and the chaos of the crowd, a moment of calm amongst the storm. Like her status as a pop star, this feels strange. Absent are the pyrotechnics, flashy light show and confetti cannons that decorate most pop shows, pulling you in on sheer spectacle alone. Instead it falls on the minimalist set and pained expression on Robyn’s face to draw you in, which she deftly wields, creating an intimate pop experience.
This subdued approach does relent as the set continues though. As the post-disco/house vibes of her music comes to the fore, she allows herself more and more freedom. Particular highlights ‘Between the Lines’ and ‘Love is Free’ show Robyn at her most free, dancing and writhing around stage as one lone dancer accompanies her.
Then came the biggest hit and moment of the night. As the chorus ramps up for ‘Dancing On My Own’ the crowd is in full swing, arms in the air and voices loud. Then the chorus hits and Robyn stops singing. The music cuts out, house lights raise and the audience are just left to sing it on their own, the entire chorus sung back at Robyn in unified choir. The moment continues to last as Robyn just looks back in disbelief and amazement at the crowds reaction, showcasing the true reach of her music.
Robyn follows this up with the one-two punch of ‘Missing U’ and ‘Call Your Girlfriend’. These three songs in a row, create a euphoria that carries the crowd through two encores and all the way home. As she finishes up with ‘Who Do You Love?’, she enquires that question to her audience, encouraging them unify. It’s clear by the end that Robyn wants to create a safe space for those who support her, to create a community and allow the individuals to thrive. And on this night in Alexandra Palace, Robyn achieved that goal.