Madison Beer is no stranger to streaming herself live: it’s one of the main ways she communicates with her millions of Instagram and TikTok followers. But the stakes are definitely higher at this “fully stylized, globally streamed concert” to promote ‘Life Support’, her impressively varied debut album. “For a long time I’ve been trying to prove my intelligence and artistry and the fact that I’m someone who should be taken seriously,” the 22-year-old said in her recent NME cover feature. Ahead of her Reading and Leeds festival sets this August, ‘Life Support in Concert’ gives her a chance to do just that.
Right from the start, it’s clear that Beer means business. With her all-female band on the peripheries, Beer takes centre-stage in a performance space that’s been dressed up in a style you might call ‘Gen Z arena rock’: the floor lights up atmospherically and smoke machines are clearly cranked up to eleven. Poised and purposeful throughout, Beer proceeds to sing all 17 songs from ‘Life Support’, albeit in a different running order. The only slight distraction is a scrolling ticker tape displaying live reactions from fans. Some are evidently so excited that their typing goes awry, which means one unintentionally hilarious message reads: “This is inane!”
Streamed in five different time zones this weekend with super-slick editing, the concert itself clearly isn’t unfolding live. But in fairness, it wasn’t billed as such: it’s a “globally streamed concert experience”, remember? But despite the lack of stage patter and some lightning-quick outfit changes that no human could pull off in real-time, it does create a reasonably gig-like atmosphere. Beer’s vocals are consistently terrific, peaking when she throws in some Ariana-style runs on ‘Selfish’, and her band subtly accentuates the rock dynamics of her songs. Glammy banger ‘BOYSHIT’ is punctuated by blasts of industrial noise; the Radiohead-influenced ‘Stained Glass’ gets a suitably smoky guitar solo, while a loud and crunchy ‘Blue’ owes less of a debt to Lana Del Rey than on record.
For several songs including the lovely, country-flecked ballad ‘Homesick’, Beer is joined on stage by a cellist and a violinist, which highlights the album’s musical range and her own ability to switch gear. It’s another sign of a job well done: this concert experience manages to feel both intimate and melodramatic, making it a successful reflection of the record it’s showcasing.
— regine 🌐 (@arianastuns) March 7, 2021
Madison Beer played:
‘Good In Goodbye’
‘Stay Numb And Carry On’
‘Follow The White Rabbit’
‘Everything Happens For A Reason’
‘Channel Surfing / The End’