by Capri Scarcelli | a&e editor
Feb. 24, 2022
Welsh singer-songwriter MARINA, previously known as Marina and the Diamonds, graced Stage AE on Feb. 19 to kick off the beginning of her “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land” tour.
With doors opening as early as 6 p.m. to VIP guest-access ticket-holders, lines wrapped around the block until opening act Tove Styrke welcomed the excited crowd at 7:30 p.m.
Styrke is a Swedish electro-pop singer-songwriter, who strutted the stage in a high-low wedding gown. Starting the set off with songs from her debut album, she had the audience swooning over a cover of ABBA’s “Super Trouper,” leaving the venue in a silent awe.
Mid-performance, Styrke asked the audience to pull out their phones to donate to an LGBTQ+ charity called OutRight Action International, which helps advocate for human rights around the world. Donations made by fans at the show meant they were eligible to enter a raffle for an “online hangout” to meet the singer virtually.
After a kiss and a wave goodbye, there was a brief intermission, where fans began to push toward the front of the pit to get a better view of MARINA’s opening entrance.
MARINA’s performance felt like a play in one act — articulate, succinct and meaningful. There were no costume changes, no major choreography, but the set had a sense of purpose that brought an audience together, one hit after another.
She incorporated classics from her debut albums “The Family Jewels” and “Electra Heart,” though mostly sung songs from her newest album “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land.” There was something for everyone there, whether a diehard fan or someone who remembers “Oh No!” from JustDance on Wii.
My personal favorite moments from the show were “I Am Not a Robot” and “Venus Fly Trap” just because of the high energy of the crowd and seeing MARINA giggle with delight over her enthusiastic fans. Each song went right into the next — there limited time to process the concert song-by-song because it was a smooth-transitioning compilation of works.
Audience members were decked out in bright neon and funky patterns as homage to the artist’s glowing stage presence. MARINA herself was adorned in leather pants and a sparkly red top with a long bubble ponytail, and the colorful backdrop of the stage and the rainbow of lights made the venue all the more radiant.
Each song was one upbeat bop after another, with only three ballads throughout the set. MARINA said on-stage that she wanted the crowd to “leave it all behind” and enjoy the present moment. MARINA was very inclusive throughout the set, asking everyone how they were doing, singing “Happy Birthday” to a fan in the front row and asking fans on the balcony whether or not they could see.
Toward the end of her performance, a fan fainted toward the back of the pit. Audience members on the balcony were able to flag down MARINA to stop the show, waiting for security to help the individual before continuing. MARINA thanked the audience for “being so observant,” but fans thanked her right back for taking the time to prioritize safety.
MARINA left the stage with “I Love You But I Love Me More,” giving a grace period before encoring with the soft ballad “Goodbye.” Fans waved their flashlights in the air and swayed with the music until MARINA said “I love you, goodbye Pittsburgh.”
Look out for more concerts coming to Stage AE at promowestlive.com.