On Instagram, a thousand photos and videos from Rosalía’s concert in Lisbon. Enthusiastic reports, good reviews and echoes of a great night. Nothing could be further from my experience, two days before, in Braga. I was in doubt. Was it really like that and was it enough to change the room to improve the quality of the show a lot? Was it just me who disliked it and is there a kind of mismatch between this type of concert and my expectations? Or is it simply the illusion of perfection projected on social media and these people felt the same as me?
Rosalía’s vocal quality is well known and her performance was impeccable. She delivered mastery, emotion, energy and dance. She played the hits and other older themes. She always interacted with the public with availability, spontaneity and sympathy. She recalled the first time she was in Braga, for a concert at Theatro Circo, with her first album, and thanked her for her welcome. She remembered the time when she sang in restaurants and hummed a fado by Carminho that she always sang, showing an impeccable pronunciation in Portuguese. In other words, the problem was definitely not the “star”.
The room, which is more suitable for sporting events, greatly detracted from the experience. First of all, because the visibility to the stage (and even to the screens) was very poor. Only being benevolent to those who were right in front or in the stands. The remaining thousands paid a very expensive ticket not to see it. And the sound was even worse, not only because of the very strong echo that this type of pavilion suffers from, but also because the sound system was not enough for the space and the volume was too low. The conversations around could be heard more than the music and it was very difficult to maintain a connection with what was happening on stage in the midst of that chaotic din.
If we think that this was a show in which the scenography, the screens, the choreography and the costumes were of great importance, not being able to see it already says a lot about the experience. And if we add that this is an electronic music concert (which has to have a physical impact, in the beats and bass) by a singer who has an above average voice, not feeling the power of music and vocal performance kills any possibility of fruition.
I confess that this tendency to give concerts without musicians on stage, in which the instruments only enter here and there for occasional moments of exhibition (more performative than musical), does not seduce me. I confess that I prefer the format of Rosalía’s previous concert and that this version of her as a mainstream pop star, increasingly farther away from her relationship with flamenco, is not as interesting to me. But I’m really sorry that, because of logistical issues, I didn’t have the opportunity to receive everything she delivered on stage and that, in this trend of increasingly transforming concerts into multimedia shows, very visual and choreographed, it’s increasingly more and more common to forget the fundamental: the sound.