Concert Reviews


Photos by Katrina Lat

MARINA opened up the North American leg of her Love + Fear tour this week in Toronto to a sold out crowd, her first time in the city in nearly four years. Her set was a mesmerizing mix of both old and new songs that kept the crowd entirely engaged from start to finish.

MARINA has the type of vocals that could stand entirely on their own, however, despite that fact MARINA went above and beyond with the production on this tour. Nearly every song was backed with several dancers who brought her show to life in a way that was truly rare to see, telling a story beyond what the lyrics were saying. Paired with the captivating set design and MARINA’s undeniable charisma, it was nearly impossible not to be swept away in the theatrics of the show.

Playing a fair mix of old and new, MARINA curated a nearly perfect setlist that kept everybody in the crowd on their toes. She opened the set with the song “Handmade Heaven” off of her latest release and then immediately after jumped into the song “Oh No” off of her debut. Despite the fact that she played a fair bit of older songs, she still managed to make the show feel like Love + Fear and not simply a greatest hits rerun. She did this by breathing new life into old songs and effortlessly incorporating them into the set. Halfway through the show she played a piano rendition of “Teen Idle”, completely changing the entire feel of the song, to the point where it could have easily been a Love + Fear song. I have never seen an artist incorporate bits and pieces of their entire discography into one show without losing the essence of the album they are currently touring in such a flawless way. MARINA had a way of making it feel as if all of the songs she performed were an extension of Love + Fear, and in that managed to curate the perfect setlist for both old and new fans alike.

Aside from the theatrics and setlist MARINA has one thing going for her that makes her live show stand out above and beyond nearly everybody else, her vocals. MARINA’s vocals are truly rare and utterly captivating. Her raw vocal talent shines through in every single song she sings, to the point where she could have kept the entire crowd captivated all night with nothing more than her raw vocals and some piano ballads. It is undeniable that MARIANA’s talent shines through in her live shows, and I truly believe that even the greatest critics of MARINA’s work couldn’t help but be won over by her live show.

However, one of the best things about the entire show was the crowd. Looking around it was easy to see that MARINA propagates a culture of total and utter acceptance, with her shows being somewhere that people aren’t afraid to express who they truly are. MARINA is a force to be reckoned with and her live show truly showcases the true extent of her starpower, and I have a feeling her best is still yet to come.

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Long suffering student by day. Music writer by night.