This week, for your reading enjoyment, we have compiled reviews of live performances from Björk in New York City; New Kids On The Block in Phoenix; Janet Jackson in Las Vegas; Twenty One Pilots in Montreal; Pink in New York City; and Carrie Underwood in Portland, Ore.
Björk @ The Shed (Hudson Yards) in New York, N.Y., May 22 – “For 100 minutes, ‘Cornucopia’ helps the audience to imagine that world. It is one of the most incredible displays of lights and sounds ever to grace a stage in the city. The Shed won’t erase every qualm New Yorkers have had about the future of Hudson Yards, but a state-of-the-art space in Manhattan for groundbreaking cultural events is a good start.” – Craig Jenkins / Vulture
New Kids On The Block @ Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz., May 22 – “They even dress as old men in the music video, brought into a high school for a presentation on the history of boy bands. It’s brilliant, really, selling lines as proud as ‘You can hear them going crazy in stadiums in every nation’ with a side of self-effacing humor.
“It’s an approach that’s served them well on the reunion trail, where they deliver their crowd-pleasing ‘Magic Mike’ moments, from the pelvic thrusts of ‘You Got It (The Right Stuff)’ to the flashing of abs and Wahlberg tearing his New Kids shirt off, with a playful of sense of self-awareness. It still gets the shrieks but it’s served with a bit of a nod and a wink.” – Ed Masley / Arizona Republic
Janet Jackson @ Park Theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas, Nev., May 17 – “Initially, you may be taken by the lack of singularly spectacular production numbers in the show. There are no stunts, per se, beyond Jackson literally dropping in on a descending logo at show’s beginning; Gaga’s flight harness remains safely in storage, somewhere backstage. But the show doesn’t really suffer from its lack of androids. The most enjoyable bit of stagecraft has Jackson and her dancers appear to be on a subway car, between two sets of projections, a good example of what can be done, design-wise, without unnecessary props.” – Chris Willman / Variety
Twenty One Pilots @ Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, May 22 – “There’s some shifting between instruments, with Joseph playing bass, ukulele and piano, and Dun even hiding a trumpet behind his drum kit. Rockists will balk at the glaring omission, but with new rock bands graduating to arena-status becoming few and far between, the persnickety ought to take the rare win. In the ways that matter — youthfulness, attitude, songs and loyal fans – Twenty One Pilots are true rock band for our musically mishmashed times.” – Erik Leijon / Montreal Gazette
Pink @ Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., May 21 – “Kicking off the night by literally swinging from a chandelier to her iconic hit, ‘Get The Party Started,’ Pink’s stage erupted into a fantastical circus of dancing, props, sequins and plaid — exactly what we came for.” – Ali Stagnitta / Hollywood Life