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The beauty of being into smaller bands is that you usually avoid the whole “celebrity” thing. The White Stripes are one of the few I can think of on my list. But even then, I don’t really see Jack and Meg as “superstars”. As ga ga as I usually get is my photos with Neko and Kathryn from the New Pornographers that adorn my fridge. But on Wednesday night I did get to be in awe from the biggest star in my canon… Bjork.

She is all celebrity to me. She is about the only artist I love that I think is clearly on another level. Either you’re with her or against her, and I’m certainly with her. So you can guess I was equal parts excited and nervous about making a trek up to Sydney to see her perform on the steps of the Opera House last Wednesday.

Was it worth the trip? My lordy yes.

First of all, the steps of the Opera House is a pretty amazing place to see anyone, and with the sun just going down, on to stage marched Bjork’s Icelandic brass band, complete in technicolour regalia. From that point you knew it was going to be pretty sweet. She opened with shooting flames and Earth Intruders from new album Volta and from the get go the sound was impeccable. I am a bit 50/50 with Volta, but we only got 3 tracks from it. What I was treated to was half of my all time favourite Bjork, Homogenic. In fact when Unravel came at about song 3, I was wondering if it was all peaking a bit too early.

But no, gold after gold kept coming (so to did more flames, confetti, tickertape, lasers, fireworks, and even Spiderman style web-slinging). In fact I was a little surprised that the set was almost a pure greatest hits set, but when you haven’t been here for 12 years, then I don’t think anyone is lamenting a lack of songs off the new album (set list can be found here).

I was not quite sure what to make of Declare Independence when I first heard it, but now I love it. It has become Bjork’s set closer and boy is it intense. Any Rage Against the Machine fans would do well to see how political activism is done these days… she spits it out with more conviction than Zack ever could.

The only minor quibbles were a slightly lacklustre crowd and the length of the set (about 1hr 25) but her just announced cancellation of playing the Sydney BDO probably explains that (although you could never tell she was crook from her performance). Fingers crossed she is well enough to play Melbourne on Monday where I can just sit back this time and soak it all in.

So, sorry for two gushing gig reviews in a row. I’m not normally like this. Scary thing is next week I have the Big Day Out, but most importantly Battles and LCD Soundsystem sideshows, so there could be more outpourings of love (especially given I know that Battles are good).

… muttler

Bjork in Sydney
(Photo from

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