Bjork at Manchester Campfield Market Hall (30th June 2011)

Just back from a wonderful show by Bjork at Campfield Market Hall for the Manchester International Festival. This was the official opening night (following Monday’s preview) of her Biophilia project – which sees her play six shows during a three-week residency.

The gigs are pretty much sold out (check for tickets here), but if you get the chance then definitely try and make it down.

This was the third concert in 12 days I’ve been to where photography was not allowed during the performance (I saw Ryan Adams twice last week and he had the same policy). It makes such a difference not to have the glare from an LCD screen of a camera or phone in your sightline. Remember when all concerts used to be like that 14 years ago? :)

Here’s a few photos I shot after the concert had finished:

Bjork Setlist – Manchester 30th June:

Thunderbolt
Moon
Crystalline
Hollow
Dark Matter
Hidden Place
Mouth’s Cradle
Isobel
Virus
It’s Not Up To You
Sacrifice
Sonnets / Unrealities
Where Is The Line
Mutual Core
All Is Full Of Love
Cosmogony
Solstice

Encore:

One Day
Declare Independence
Nattura

Highlights for me were the stunning renditions of ‘One Day’, ‘Hidden Place’, ‘It’s Not Up To You’, ‘Isobel’ and ‘All Is Full Of Love’ backed by her choir.

A couple of the crazy instruments used on stage:

The stage was set in the round with the audience in raised stands (or stood surrounding the stage 4 or 5 people deep at ground level). I wouldn’t worry too much about the initial dilemma of where to stand, as most spots give you a great view. Of course it’s not very often you get to spend 90+ minutes this close to Bjork, so if you can get a front row spot at ground level it might be worth doing. Doors open at 7:30pm, and our performance started about 8:40pm.

Overhead around eight large screens showed visual effects – which I have a feeling will form part of the Biophilia iPhone apps to be released shortly (apparently there’ll be one for each song on the album). This is the screens after the performance, showing Biophilia artwork as we were walking out:

Bjork Merchandise stall:- t-shirts were £20 (3 designs) or £22 (skinny, 2 designs). They were also selling a lithograph poster for £75 and some CDs.

Poster requesting no photography/video whilst Bjork was performing:

I’d love the chance to get an official photo pass and go back and shoot this show, as Bjork looked incredible in her heavy make-up and massive ginger wig along with her 20-strong Icelandic choir.

Update: found a great review of Monday’s night’s show here:
http://www.silentradio.co.uk/06/29/live-bjork-biophilia-27062011/

and here: http://www.thefugitivemotel.org.uk/2011/music-reviews/biophilia-hypothesis/

and a blog piece on tonight’s show: http://fatroland.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-bjork-message-is-simpler-than-you.html

Update2:
@thepigeonpost shot some video during the press preview this afternoon:
Tesla Coil in action http://yfrog.com/g490637123z
and video of the Gravity Harps: http://yfrog.com/0anqdoz
plus a couple of photos http://yfrog.com/kjs03kbj and http://yfrog.com/kkc5tihj

Update3:
Some more links & reviews:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/musicblog/2011/jul/01/manchester-international-festival-is-go
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jul/01/bjork-review
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/may/28/bj-rks-biophilia
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jun/30/bjork-tour-biophilia
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2011/mar/17/manchester-international-festival-bjork-apps
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13984487
Manchester Evening News preview
Manchester Evening News review
http://www.creativetimes.co.uk/articles/mif-review-bjork-biophilia

Update4:
Andy Cavatorta – the guy who created the musical instruments (eg. the Gravity Harp) for Bjork is currently doing a AMA on Reddit

Here’s another ace review I found of the Thursday performance and press preview: http://threeminutesthirtyseconds.tumblr.com/post/7204193995/ok-so-on-thursday-i-travelled-up-to-manchester-to

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