After postponing the dates in March because of a Covid case in her touring party, Mitski finally returned to NYC on Friday night (7/22) for her first show here since 2019, and her first of two dates at Radio City Music Hall. It was her first time headlining the grand, iconic theater, and the scale of her performance on it was a majestic tour-de-force that was awe-inspiring to witness, a mixture of modern dance, performance art, and concert.
After working with Monica Mirable of FlucT, Mitski began incorporating movement and dance into her shows in 2018. A few years later, and the sets, ambitious from the start, have evolved into a totally compelling stage show that fully do justice to the ecstatic highs and crushing lows captured in Mitski's music. The set up is simple but evocative: a closed door in the center of the stage, positioned against a textured backdrop, with Mitski and her band arrayed before it. The resulting image put me in mind of a scene of quiet domesticity gone wrong, the backdrop as the dark forest of the id encroaching into the everyday, as Mitski jumps, spins, kicks, and gestures her way across the floor. She knocked on the door at one point, and seemed to knock against an invisible pane of glass separating her from the audience. It was one of a few acknowledgements she gave to the sold out crowd who was absolutely thrilled to see her, screaming and singing along the whole time. Later in the show she thanked everyone watching for their attention and love, and talked about having given up living in NY, but of being reminded how much she loves the city every time she's back.
While her current tour is supporting this year's great Laurel Hell, Mitski played as many songs from Be The Cowboy and Bury Me at Makeout Creek as she did her most recent album. The energy in the room peaked with "Townie" and "Your Best American Girl" midset, but earlier in the night "Washing Machine Heart" got the loudest and most sustained singalong of the show. Night one at Radio City also got to hear "Love Me More," "Working for the Knife," "I Bet on Losing Dogs," "First Love/Late Spring," "Nobody," "The Only Heartbreaker," "Francis Forever," "Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart," and more, along with a devastating encore of "A Pearl." See the full setlist below.
The Weather Station opened the night with a beautiful set, mostly pulled from last year's excellent Ignorance. See pictures of some fan-taken photos.