Los Angeles transplant, singer-songwriter Marina returns to the Bay Area for the first time in two years since her 2019’s “Love + Fear Tour”. Marina’s “Ancient Dreams In A Modern World Tour” kicked off in San Francisco on Wednesday, February 2nd at the legendary “The Masonic” concert venue. The atmosphere was thick with excitement as the fans dressed as past era Marinas filled the venue. There was a steady buzz of anticipation being that it was one of the first crowds to see Marina perform in the ongoing pandemic life.
The night commenced with the show’s opening act, Indie pop artist Tove Styrke won the crowd over with her spunky brand of pop music and infectious stage presence. Styrke had the crowd jumping around and dancing in their seats as she performed a vibrant mix of past singles, new songs and a memorable ABBA live cover. The Swedish singer interacted with the crowd between songs, having lighthearted chats about the inspirations behind her songs and speaking about her native country, Sweden. As Styrke ended her live set, many in the audience began to look for her music and socials on their phones.
When it was time for Marina to hit the stage, the energy was electric as the audience started chanting her name once the venue went dark. The screams were overwhelming as the audience had their first glimpse of the woman of the hour when she stepped on stage. As her live band began playing the first chords of her track, “Ancient Dreams In A Modern World” the loud gasps could be heard in the crowd as it was the live debut of the new album title song and name of the tour. As the spotlight lit up the stage, the fans had a clear view of a fiery red boa wearing biker chic inspired Marina singing the first verse of the cutting-edge pop infused rock track. The crowd began to sing unison with Marina as she meticulously transitioned to her spectacular empowering single,”Venus Fly Trap” where she danced around the stage with her backup singers/dancers. One of the special things about a Marina show is the way the Welsh artist makes direct eye contact with the audience whether you are in the general admission crowd or in the seated balcony, you experience the same strong connection between artist and fan.
The diverse first half had plenty of live debuts with the 80’s pop anthem,”Purge The Poison” and the feminist single,”Man’s World” from her newest record. Marina concluded the first half of the cheerful set with a huge portion of her well loved tracks,”Froot”, “Handmade Heaven” and “Hollywood”. The well rounded 20 song set list included songs from all Marina’s past eras including 2010’s “The Family Jewels” fan favorite singles, “I am Not A Robot”, “Oh No!”, “Hollywood” and the tik tok viral sensation “Are You Satisfied?”. Marina put a fun spin on playing “Are You Satisfied?” as she started the song on piano and then transitioned to jumped joyfully around the stage serenading the crowd. She kicked off the second half of the show with the emotional “Happy”, the crowd was singing out in unison with Marina as cellphone flashlights illuminated the venue, it was surreal to feel everyone sharing the same wavelength throughout the song being played.
The next couple of songs ,”Forget” and “Can’t Pin Me Down”, both confident anthems, sounded fresh and current as the songs matched the fierce energy of the latest Marina era. When Marina played her underrated angsty pop gem, “Teen Idle” off her impressive 2012’s “Electra Heart” album, the crowd went wild with screams, the atmosphere was lit on fire. The bubbling energy continued to rise with the first time performance of stellar breakup anthem,”I Love You But I Love Me More” and further exploded into a fireball of positivity and sass as Marina dove into her 2012 smash hits,”How to Be A Heartbreaker” and “Bubblegum Bitch”. As she neared the end of the show, Marina played “Goodbye”, on the piano, one of the unforgettable tracks for her newest album about leaving the past versions of yourself behind.
As the show ended and the lights turned on, it felt like waking up from a pleasant dream where nothing bad was happening in the world. Flashes of the good times of pre pandemic life passed throughout the night as the crowd was immersed with Marina’s hypnotic stage presence. The show itself reminded her tight-knit fanbase that the world might never be the same but the rare quality of Marina’s artistry has flourished to unseen heights of confidence as she tackles gender inequality and racism among other social commentary in her music and her live performances while maintaining the wit and quirkiness her fans initially fell in love with when she debuted in 2010.
Check out the playlist of concert clips from the show below: