Premiered at the Manchester International Festival two years ago, Björk’s Biophilia show about the world has been around the world before finally landing in London for its last outing. “We’re a bit mushy and emotional,” said the singer from beneath a huge candyfloss wig and a dress made of sparkles and bumps.
The mushy ones included herself, the 18-strong female Icelandic choir Graduale Nobili, iPad-wielding musical director Matt Robertson and percussionist Manu Delagu but presumably not David Attenborough, whose familiar tones appeared as recordings to introduce each song. The nature themes of Björk’s groundbreaking Biophilia album, created as an app and an education project, were brought to life here under a circle of screens showing starfish, violent lava and twirling strands of DNA.
They gathered in the round, the gold and blue choir surrounding the star, dancing loosely and adding layers to music principally comprised of chimes and voices. A stunning Virus featured one of the more obvious melodies amid vaultingly ambitious songs that were not always easy to follow.
Having warned the audience beforehand not to film, they later became secondary to her own capturing of the last night. There were three songs repeated for her big cameras as well as momentum-sapping technical difficulties.
But all was forgiven at the sight of some of the most unusual instruments ever to grace a stage. Four giant pendulums plucked strings during a hypnotic solo Solstice. Most wondrous was a Tesla coil in a cage, sparking real lightning and rasping electric sounds during Thunderbolt and old favourite Possibly Maybe. “Electric shocks, I love them,” she sang in the latter. So did the rest of us.