Rosalía is riding a motorbike on-stage that’s completely made of dancers. Dressed in glamorous black-and-white tailored leather, like a biker who’s front row at a fashion show, the Spanish superstar is sat atop a mass of bodies that are meticulously locked into formation. Behind her, a colossal screen is feeding the fantasy, showing desert scenery whistling past as if the artist is driving at break-neck speed – it’s quite the sight to behold.
This physical theatre, an accompaniment to the title track from Rosalía’s genre-exploding third studio album ‘Motomami’, is being eaten up by the sold-out crowd at Lisbon’s 20,000-capacity Altice Arena. Following on from the flamenco-fuelled tunes of her 2017 debut ‘Los Ángeles’ and 2018’s Grammy-nominated ‘El mal querer’, the 30-year-old cracked her sound open on ‘Motomami’ by incorporating industrial beats, reggaetón, R&B, alt-pop and more in an experimental triumph that was hailed by NME as “an electrifying serve from a left-field mastermind”.
‘Motomami’s expansive and daring musical palette shines even brighter on-stage than on the record; its bold sonics combining with impressive theatrical production that never lets up. It’s a physical demonstration of the clear artistic image Rosalía has for this project, dominated by creative choreography, unusual prop choices and well-thought-out visuals.
Despite the lengthy 31-track setlist, there are no costume changes or off-stage breaks. Even the mid-gig make-up touch-up is written into the show: Rosalía sits in a styling chair and continues to perform ‘DIABLO’ as her glam team get to work. Their efforts are ultimately for nothing, though: moments after they finish, Rosalía pours a bottle of water over her head.
Rosalía is accompanied throughout the show by backing dancers, who perform a series of jaw-dropping choreography, and her videographer, who twists and turns through the chaos in order to get up close to the action. The footage is beamed live on the big screens, meaning that even those people in the nosebleeds get to see the show intimately, with Rosalía actively performing to camera. The impact of these visuals is supported by the minimalistic staging, which consists of an L-shaped white stage (the back of which also acts as a big screen) that is flanked by two further colossal monitors. At certain points in the show the dancers also film proceedings on hand-held devices: their footage, which is also screened around the venue, gives the impression that you’re watching clips of the performance on social media. It’s an apt effect given the smash-hit viral success of tracks like the whirlwind of sass ‘BIZCOCHITO’, which is just as euphoric when performed live tonight as the endless TikTok videos about the song have already demonstrated.
There are some quieter moments amid the glorious chaos. The gorgeous ‘G3 N15′ sees Rosalía being physically lifted up by her dancers; their frenetic dance routines swapped for something subtler that places the focus on her stunning, melismatic vocals. The big sound and theatrics return, though, during a rocked-up version of ‘Dolerme’ which sees Rosalía pick up an electric guitar, before she then plays on a grand piano for the brilliantly filthy ‘HENTAI’: it’s a remarkable display of light and dark.
Then there are the moments of pure joy: the performance of ‘Abcdefg’ sees her bring a fan on-stage as the duo proceed to trade lines of the spoken-word moment together. Rosalía also delights her audience by reading out the hand-written signs in the crowd (of which there are many, held high and proud) and walks along the barrier during ‘LA NOCHE DE ANOCHE’, allowing revellers to sing along with her. These moments of elation also extend to an elongated dance section where Rosalía’s team join her on-stage to shake and shimmy to ‘Yo x ti, tú x mí’, which is followed by a portion of Daddy Yankee‘s ‘Gasolina’ being blasted through the arena before the mambo-belter ‘DESPECHÁ’.
Rapidly switching from soaring ballads to industrial club moments, this show is a demonstration of Rosalía’s singular artistic vision. Encompassing the genre-shifting nature of ‘Motomami’ and allowing each of the record’s sides to shine in equal measure – be that with a complex dance routine, or a tear-jerking moment of catharsis – it’s indicative of Rosalía’s sheer talent as a performer, and a reminder that nobody is doing it quite like her at the moment.
‘DE AQUÍ NO SALES / BULERÍAS’
‘LA NOCHE DE ANOCHE’
‘PIENSO EN TU MIRÁ’
‘Perdóname’ (La Factoría cover)
‘LA COMBI VERSACE’
‘Relación’ (Sech cover)
‘Yo x ti, tú x mí’
‘COMO UN G’
‘DELIRIO DE GRANDEZA’ (Justo Betancourt cover)