Bjork : Paris Grand Rex

Matmos, Eskimos and a 60 piece orchestra accompany Bjork as she kicks off her world tour...

Bjork may come from Iceland, have found her creative voice in Britain and now live in America, but France is where her most ardent fans are to be found. The French have just pushed ‘Hidden Place’ to number one; now a sold-out crowd, who have paid a hefty #60 a ticket, throng the beautful interior of the Grand Rex theatre in Montmatre, ready to watch Bjork unveil the first night of a four-month world tour.

An unnerving, absurdist set by Matmos – which included the duo setting about an amplified birdcage with violin bows – has set the tone. A 60-piece orchestra, suddenly appearing in the pit as the musicans turn on the lights above their music, emphasises the fundamental non-rockness of the event. ThenBjork, wearing black tights and a peacock-shaped dress, sits down to play one of two glass music boxes as fake snow falls around her. Matmos reappear, dressed in white, to work the computers; a 15-strong Inuit choir take their place at the back of the stage; a harpist sidles in from the wings, the lights go up and everyone bursts into an overwhelmingly sensual ‘All Is Full Of Love’.


It’s a love thing, and it’s also a female thing – Bjork‘s delighted, abandoned dancing at the audience’s response further than ever from your average arrogance rock stance. But there’s nothing soft about Bjork‘s determination to see her vision through to the end, without compromise. This was music performance at the very highest level, disaparate elements tied together in combination no-one else could have even considered.

Alex Needham