Dancing is contagious. As much as I have figuratively slapped the wrists of Toronto concert go-ers for not shaking their tail feathers at many a danceable show, after last night’s hip shaking, my faith has returned that we are not all completely immovable.
Most credit however has to go to the lady of the night – Miss Robyn. I’ve seen some pretty fabulous on-stage dancers as of late – Cut Copy‘s Dan Whitford, Lykke Li, The Temper Trap‘s Dougy Mandagi – but our girl Robyn could kick all their butts combined, at a dance-off. With 5-inch platform Timberland’s as her dancing shoes, there wasn’t one bit of the stage she didn’t stomp, slide, pirouette, jump or moon walk on. And the crowd, mostly made up of well-coiffed gay men, hard-and-fast beat lovers and the occasional young couple, ate up every groove, pump and spin like it was their last meal. Maybe it was the warm summer eve, the enthusiasm for Toronto’s new concert venue or a little TGIF enthusiasm but the energy of the crowd was palpable.
She opened with ‘Fembot’ – a personal favourite girl-power track. Other favourites included ‘Dancing On My Own’, ‘Cobrastyle’, ‘Indestructible’, and ‘Call Your Girlfriend’. Chants of RO-BYN! filled the spaces between two encores and her 90s sensation ‘Show Me Love’ ended the night with a little nostalgia and a good old sing-along.
Through the technicolour light show, extensive stage set-up, and oversized windmill toys – as mesmerizing as all these things were, there was something intangible that impressed me even more. This was Robyn’s unbridled and tenacious adoration for what she was doing, and who she was doing it for. Her performance was honest from start to finish, made so by candid smiles and appreciation when the audience sang along with gusto in unison. And she gave some big love to Toronto – which I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t – but her love came across as not obligatory or rehearsed but ever so genuine.
And now on to Toronto’s newest outdoor music venue, Echo Beach.
I had no preconceived thoughts on what to expect at Echo Beach, not necessarily optional (as I tend to be a research nut) but rather because I couldn’t find much written up on it. Located just east of Molson Amphitheatre, Echo Beach claims the footprint of Ontario Place’s beach volleyball courts. It was much more intimate than I expected and no matter where you stood, there were always good sightlines to the stage. And the acoustics were surprisingly solid, especially for an open-air venue.
A couple complaints..
The bathroom situation was sub par – so bad in fact that I chose to drink wine instead of beer, given the fear of breaking the seal and standing uncomfortably in a lengthy line up.
Drinks were pricey – $10 for a tall boy, $8 for a glass of wine. I guess I had just gotten too accustomed to a $5 can of Red Stripe at Wrongbar.
Great sightlines, stunning view of Toronto skyline, carefree and laid-back ‘tude
And key learnings…
Wear sandals or flip-flops – most of the venue is in the sand. I had to more than once, empty out my flats
Do like your mother would say, and go to the bathroom before you leave home
Shows are rain or shine, scorching or chilly, so dress accordingly
I can’t wait to see what other summer performances will happen at Echo Beach. Robyn was a trial run apparently, and if you ask me, this pilot is definitely getting picked up.