Until my friend Patrick messaged me the other week, asking if I wanted to go see Robyn perform live in Sydney, I had only a vague knowledge of the Swedish pop star. Intrigued, I took the opportunity to visit her MySpace page and listen to a few of her songs, which I found to be really quite impressive. It was during this time that I recalled having heard her song “With Every Heartbeat” on the radio at some point earlier. Additionally, I had an insightful conversation with my half-Swedish colleague, Carrie, who shared some interesting details about Robyn’s history as a Swedish child star.
Having attended her live performance, I can now confidently say that I have become a devoted fan of Robyn. The experience was truly captivating, and her talent and stage presence left a lasting impression on me.
As we stepped into the uber-cool Oxford Art Factory, formerly the old Central Station Records on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, excitement and curiosity filled the air. We couldn’t help but wonder who else would be interested in witnessing the performance of a relatively unknown (at least in Australia) Swedish pop star. “Oh, look over there! A girl proudly sporting a Robyn t-shirt,” Patrick pointed out. “And there’s a guy wearing a Sverige t-shirt,” I added with a smile. As we scanned the room, we noticed a group of young-looking kids who seemed to be gearing up for their HSC exams, alongside a few cheerful gay boys and even a rather eccentric-looking emo-girl.
The diversity of the crowd caught our attention, and we couldn’t help but appreciate the eclectic mix of people who had gathered for this event. Eager to immerse ourselves fully, we secured a spot right up front on the dance floor, near the stage, ready to experience the magic of the evening.
As I stood there, the thought crossed my mind about how I might appear amidst a sea of much younger faces. At almost forty-two, balding, and surrounded by people who could easily be my children (except for Sam and Pat), I couldn’t help but wonder if I looked a bit out of place. It’s not hard to imagine that others might perceive me as a letchy old bloke, a drug dealer, or even an undercover police officer on a drug bust, if I were someone else.
As I made my way in, I recalled one of the bouncers giving me a questioning look, but to my relief, the crowd turned out to be incredibly warm and friendly. I felt welcomed, and that initial concern quickly subsided. Of course, I made sure to keep my “old man dancing” at a level that felt appropriate, but overall, the experience was enjoyable and free from any discomfort. The atmosphere was so inviting that age seemed to become irrelevant, and I found myself simply enjoying the music and the vibrant energy of the night.
No, this was a crowd of dedicated Robyn fans. With one or two exceptions, we were surrounded by people who knew every single word of every single song. And as Robyn sang, they sang along with her in a really joyous celebration of her music.
In response, she graced the stage with an extraordinary display of energy, enthusiasm, and passion, leaving me in awe. Her vocals were nothing short of exceptional, and her dance moves were captivating, making it evident that she was giving her all for the audience. What impressed me even more was how she effortlessly connected with the crowd, locking eyes with numerous people, making each one of us feel a personal connection to her performance.
Not to be overshadowed, her band members showcased an astounding level of skill and dedication, playing their instruments with precision and unwavering enthusiasm. The synergy between the artist and her band was evident, creating a mesmerizing musical experience.
To put it simply, this live gig stands as one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. The sheer talent and genuine passion that filled the venue made it an unforgettable night for all of us fortunate enough to be there.
One of the most memorable moments of the night was when an elderly Swedish-looking couple emerged from the backstage. “Ah, she’s brought her mum and dad with her,” I mentioned to Pat with a smile. Seeing them there added another layer of endearment to the already captivating performance. It was heartwarming to witness her sharing the spotlight with her parents, and it spoke volumes about her character, making it evident that she was not only immensely talented but also a genuinely nice person. Pat and I both agreed that her thoughtfulness and connection to her family only added to the admiration we had for her as an artist and as a person.