Greatest Hits Tour (Björk)

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Greatest Hits Tour
Björk Greatest Hits Tour Poster.jpg
Promotional poster for August 22, 2003 concert
Tour by Björk
Associated album Greatest Hits
Family Tree
Live Box
Start date May 24, 2003 (2003-05-24)
End date September 3, 2003 (2003-09-03)
Legs 3
Shows 18 in Europe
1 in Asia
9 in North America
28 Total
Björk concert chronology
Vespertine World Tour
(2001)
Greatest Hits Tour
(2003)
Volta Tour
(2007-8)

The Greatest Hits Tour was the fifth worldwide concert tour by Icelandic musician Björk. It was launched in support of the release of her Greatest Hits album, her box set Family Tree, and to coincide with the release of her Live Box collection. The tour was supposed to take place one year earlier, but it was delayed as Björk gave birth to her daughter. The first dates of the tour were announced just two months after the birth. The tour kicked off with two shows in London on May 24, 2003, and ended with a rescheduled performance in Toronto on September 3, 2003. The tour visited Europe, Asia and North America with 28 shows in total. Björk wore outfits and creations from Jeremy Scott, Alexander McQueen and Shoplifter.

The songs performed were mainly from Vespertine and Homogenic. The tour band was made up of members of previous tour bands: the Iceland string octet (which were featured also in the Homogenic Tour), electronic duo Matmos and harpist Zeena Parkins (who had previously been part of the touring band for Vespertine World Tour). Iranian musician Leila Arab (who had previously been part of the touring band for Post) joined the band for the European and Asian shows. There was a notable lack of focus on material from Debut and Post. The tour was appreciated by critics, who lauded Björk's performances, presence on scene and fashion choices. This is the only one of Björk's tours not to have had a corresponding DVD or CD release, although many performances were broadcast and a live track of "All is Full of Love" from this tour can be found on the soundtrack to the Icelandic film Screaming Masterpiece, whilst the film itself contains partial live performances of both "All is Full of Love" and "Pluto".

Background[edit]

In 2001, Björk embarked on her fourth tour, the Vespertine World Tour, which featured the singer playing in opera houses and theatres backed by the 54-piece orchestra Il Novecento.[1] During a press conference in Barcelona, Spain, before her concert at Liceu, Björk confirmed that there would have been another tour the following year, which would have featured more conventional locations and band.[2] On January 26, 2002, it was announced that Björk would headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival which was to take place in April 2002.[3] By the time of the show, the singer was pregnant with her second child, the first with partner Matthew Barney, and the show was the only planned appearance for the year.[4] During the course of 2002, Björk released her first greatest hits album, aptly called Greatest Hits, and first box set, Family Tree, which followed a string of DVD releases which spanned her first ten years of solo career. Björk stated that the process "was like spring cleaning, complete with nostalgic, boring, and mushy moments, but ultimately, it was liberating to have an absolutely clean attic. Now, I have a brand-new chalkboard on which to work".[5] The singer gave birth to her daughter, Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney, on October 3, 2002. At the end of the year, the first dates for Björk's newest tour were announced in Verona, Paris and Hamburg.[6] More dates were later added in March 2003, including two headlining shows in Russia, were the singer had never played before.[7] Björk was confirmed to headline the Fuji Rock Festival in Yuzawa, Niigata, Japan[8] and further shows were announced to take place in North America, including two shows at Brooklyn KeySpan Park.[9][10] In April, it was confirmed that Zeena Parkins and Matmos, who have played with her during her last tour, would rejoin her, along with the Icelandic String Octet, that was part of the band during the Homogenic Tour.[11] Leila Arab was later confirmed to be a part of the band too, but she appeared only during the European and Asian shows due to visa issues. On May 16, Björk streamed via webcast the final rehearsal for the upcoming tour live at the Loftkastalinn Theatre in Reykjavík.[9]

The shows featured pyrotechnics, moving sculptures on stage and video projections. London-based director and animator LynnFox provided the backdrops for some songs on the tour, including "Pluto", "Desired Constellation", "Unravel" and "It's in Our Hands".[12] During the tour Björk wore dresses by Jeremy Scott and Shoptlifter along with ornaments by young Icelandic designer and, most notably, a pair of ear ornaments by Alexander McQueen.[13][14]

Critical reception[edit]

Björk performing at the Fuji Rock Festival on July 26, 2003

The tour received positive reviews from critics. John Mulvay of Yahoo! Music noted that the show "initially seems [...] a virtual reprise of her Vespertine performances. In fact, Vespertine idea - a sort of solemn classical fragility underpinned by volatile, glitchy rhythms - is extended to permeate rarely-visited corners of Björk's back catalogue" and praised the show by saying "it's closer to high art than pop, incorporating performance art, chamber music and radical sound design".[15] David Peschek of The Guardian, reviewing the first show in London, commented that "there is more rhythmic invention in this show than in the rest of current electronic music. Björk has become a curator of exotic, alien sounds, the latest in a rare lineage that includes Martin Denny, Esquivel, Lalo Schifrin and Yello", ultimately labeling the show as "thrilling".[16] Ian Watson of NME wrote that "With the help of harpist Zeena Parkins and San Franciscan sound sculptors Matmos, who've fashioned lithe, subtle beats from the sounds of cracking ice and shuffled cards, her Bjorkness is moving ever closer to her ultimate dream. A breathtaking fusion of tradition and progress, of electronica and steam, of classical beauty in a groundbreaking frame".[17]

Neva Chonin of the San Francisco Chronicle billed the show as "one of the most delightfully mind-blowing pop spectacles of the year" and further commented "the pop world’s eccentric dancing queen topped herself by putting on a show as strange, beautiful and playfully joyous as herself."[18] Steven Mirkin of Variety, reviewing her performance at Hollywood Bowl, opined that "her performance did not quite live up the high bar she set", confronting the show to her last concert in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, but later added "it was an impressive evening nonetheless".[19] A more lukewarm review came for her two shows at KeySpan Park, with Andy Gensler of Rolling Stone commenting "the sheer spectacle overwhelmed fans at the Brooklyn ballpark - even if the meaning was often lost in the explosions" and further adding that the show was "impressive, but it also prompted a question : Why ?".[20]

The show's fashion was critically lauded. David Peschek stated "Björk walks on stage wearing the kind of dress [...] that the people who compile fashion pages like to laugh at, not realising she dresses that way because she finds fashion funny."[16] Gene Stout of the Seattle Post Globe stated that the outfits were "fun, fanciful and typically Björk" and noted how the singer's eclectic fashion choices influenced her fans by saying that they "also expressed their individual Björk-ness with odd costumes and gender-blending accessories. What was most striking about Björk’s fans was their attentiveness. Many appeared mesmerized by the diminuitive, fairy-like singer and her soaring, eccentric blend of pop, electronica, classical and old-European musical elements."[21] Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Village Voice stated that "she looked exquisitely ridiculous".[22]

Opening acts[edit]

Songs performed[edit]

Björk performing during the tour at the Hurricane Festival on June 21, 2003
# Song Album
28 "Desired Constellation" Medúlla (Unreleased at time)
28 "Hunter" Homogenic
28 "Hyperballad" Post
28 "It's in Our Hands" (Soft Pink Truth Mix) Greatest Hits
28 "Jóga" Homogenic
28 "Pagan Poetry" Vespertine
28 "Pluto" Homogenic
26 "Bachelorette" Homogenic
25 "All Is Full of Love" Homogenic
24 "Generous Palmstroke" Vespertine (B-Side)
23 "Unravel" Homogenic
22 "An Echo, a Stain" Vespertine
21 "Human Behaviour" Debut
19 "Heirloom" Vespertine
18 "Nameless" (Later released as "Storm") Drawing Restraint 9 (Unreleased at time)
16 "5 Years" Homogenic
15 "You've Been Flirting Again" Post
13 "Isobel" Post
13 "Nature Is Ancient" Homogenic (B-Side)
12 "Cocoon" Vespertine
12 "Where Is the Line" Medúlla (Unreleased at time)
9 "Scary" Homogenic (B-Side)
8 "I've Seen It All" Selmasongs
7 "Aurora" Vespertine
6 "Síðasta Ég" Debut (B-Side)
4 "Army of Me" Post
3 "Scatterheart" Selmasongs
2 "Mouth's Cradle" Medúlla (Unreleased at time)
2 "A Capella" (Later released as "Show Me Forgiveness") Medúlla (Unreleased at time)
2 "Vísur Vatnsenda-Rósu" Post (B-Side)
1 "Gotham Lullaby" Meredith Monk cover
1 "Mother Heroic" Vespertine (B-Side)

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
Europe[23]
May 24, 2003 London England Hammersmith Apollo
May 26, 2003 Shepherds Bush Empire
May 30, 2003[A] Valencia Spain City of Arts and Sciences
June 1, 2003[B] Madrid Juan Carlos I Park
June 6, 2003 Verona Italy Verona Arena
June 7, 2003
June 13, 2003[C] Barcelona Spain Sonar Club
June 16, 2003 Paris France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
June 17, 2003
June 21, 2003[D] Scheeßel Germany Eichenring
June 23, 2003 Berlin Treptow Arena
June 26, 2003[E] Werchter Belgium Werchterpark
June 29, 2003[F] Roskilde Denmark Festivalpladsen
July 5, 2003[G] Sesimbra Portugal Meco
July 10, 2003[H] Arvika Sweden Folkets Park
July 12, 2003[I] Sopot Poland Sopot Molo
July 17, 2003 Moscow Russia Olympic Stadium
July 19, 2003 Saint Petersburg Ice Palace
Asia
July 26, 2003[J] Yuzawa Japan Naeba Ski Resort
North America
August 8, 2003 San Francisco United States Pier 30/32
August 11, 2003 Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl
August 15, 2003 Seattle Pier 62/63
August 18, 2003 Morrison Red Rocks Amphitheatre
August 22, 2003 New York City KeySpan Park
August 23, 2003
August 28, 2003 Montreal Canada Parc Jean-Drapeau
August 31, 2003 Boston United States Suffolk Downs
September 3, 2003 Toronto Canada Olympic Island
Festivals and other miscellaneous performances
Rescheduled shows
August 26, 2003 Toronto, Canada Olympic Island Rescheduled to September 3, 2003 due to scheduling and logistic issues[24]

Promotional performances[edit]

Date Show Set
June 11, 2003 Gilles Peterson Live Set "Heirloom"
"Generous Palmstroke"
"Síðasta Ég"
"It's in Our Hands" (Soft Pink Truth Mix)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bjork World Tour To Feature 54-Piece Orchestra". Billboard. August 3, 2001. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Press conference in Spain today". bjork.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "First festival gig confirmed!". bjork.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Update: Coachella Takes Shape With Bjork, Oasis". Billboard. February 11, 2002. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Bjork Cleans Out The Attic". Billboard. October 2, 2002. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "What is New! The first concerts confirmed!". bjork.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "First Part-y of This Years Concerts". bjork.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Top Stars Line Up For Japanese Festivals". Billboard. April 11, 2003. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Bjork Hops Online For Rehearsal Webcast". May 15, 2003. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (April 2, 2003). "Billboard Bits: Bjork, Stones/AC/DC, T.I.". Billboard. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Björk&Matmos&Zeena&Octet - Live in concert". bjork.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Tour visuals by Lynn Fox underway". bjork.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "behind the seems". bjork.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "behind the seems ptII". bjork.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Mulvay, John (May 29, 2003). "Bjork". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Peschek, David (May 27, 2003). "Björk". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Watson, Ian (May 27, 2003). "Bjork : London Shepherd's Bush Empire". NME. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Chonin, Neva (August 9, 2003). "As brilliant as her fireworks on S.F. piers". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  19. ^ Mirkin, Steven (August 12, 2003). "Hollywood Bowl". Variety. 
  20. ^ Gensler, Andy (August 24, 2003). "An Ambitious stage show nearly drowns out the Icelandic chanteuse". Rolling Stone. 
  21. ^ Stout, Gene (August 16, 2003). "Pagan poetry at the Pier". Seattle Post Globe. 
  22. ^ Coates, Ta-Nehisi (August 23, 2003). "Björking For The Weekend". The Village Voice. 
  23. ^ ":2003 Sónar de noche". Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "Toronto Concert Moved Back One Week". Retrieved 19 March 2014. 

External links[edit]