Concert Review: MARINA @ The Anthem (9/18/19)

Marina Diamandis (Photo from FB @marinadiamandis)

If you’re looking for style and flourish and incredible electropop songs, the first place you should have looked was Marina’s superb concert at The Anthem on September 18th. I know many of you didn’t look hard enough, because the show was not a sell out, but it easily should have been.

Marina Diamandis (aka MARINA) is touring for her fourth album, Love + Fear (also the name of the tour), with support from LPX and Daya.

LPX (Lizzy Plapinger) was her usual radiant self in opening the show (read a review of her show last year). Daya continued the evening with a set full of seductive lyrics and fiery energy. Daya is Grace Martine Tandon from Pennsylvania, and she warmed up The Anthem crowd with hits like “Hide Away” and “Left Me Yet”. On “Hide Away”, those unfamiliar with her were instantly struck by her distinctly clear voice. She has one album (2016’s Sit Still, Look Pretty), but also released a number of new singles in 2019, so be on the look out for another album! When she paused long enough from belting to the rafters of The Anthem or dancing around the stage with unmatched intensity, she excitedly remarked that this was ‘probably the biggest room we’ve played.’ Unfortunately, this also marked her last supporting show with Marina, but the crowd was happy to have her.

Once Marina entered the white, spare stage, her electrically charged choreography and artistry were on full display.

She kicked off the well choreographed show with “Handmade Heaven” (from Love + Fear), a song about losing our connection with Nature in our current reality. It’s a pleasant and uplifting song, boasting a background of blue stars, while Marina moved lithely among the three white stages and a set of stairs designed for her and the backing dancers.

First two dancers joined, then for the next song, “Hollywood”, another pair replaced them. Before long, all four dancers were in motion, with Marina as a beacon, for a song full of lyrics touting the ideal of the American Dream, with a wink at how wrong and off-base the dream is from reality.

The dancers were an integral part of the show, sometimes in unison, sometimes as visual streams of motion bringing life to the music, sometimes as bringers of light (glow sticks and hand lamps) to give the audience full focus on Marina.

The instruments started off to the side in the shadows, and the three stages were frequently repositioned into different configurations to suit the mood of the song and dance routine. The drums and keyboard where later brought to the fore, and Marina sat to play the keyboard a of couple times. The screen towering behind the stage displayed films or cool visuals or the shadows of Marina and the dancers, giving the themes of the songs a new dimension. At one point Marina changed her costume, from a puffy gown to a more dance-worthy skirt.

A few songs in she performed “Enjoy Your Life”, one of my favorite songs from her new album. Mostly because it provides us with a mantra that matters, and Marina sells it with her distinctively harmonious vocals.

Born in Wales, Marina currently lives in London, and her last foray to DC was many moons ago in 2015 at the Lincoln Theatre. The spectacle and scope of this new show proved grander in every way. She performed* 20 songs overall, including 11 songs from Love + Fear. It truly felt more like a stage production than a concert.

For “To Be Human”, Marina sat in front of the keyboard, while videos of her face displayed on the screen, her soft-spoken lyrics desperately seeking the meaning of life, exposing the beautiful facades we construct to hide the less desirable truth.

“Orange Trees” speaks to finding love, and the simple things in life like peace and freedom, while sitting by the orange tree, set to an incredible dance beat.

“Believe In Love” brought us a background full of ocean waves, and a plea to someone for returned love. She continued to impress the audience with song after song, dance after dance, each worthy of a mention, but a review has to end at some point.

For the encore, Marina returned for two songs, starting with “End of the Earth”, where the dancers had the aforementioned hand lights moving gracefully near and around Marina, silhouetting and highlighting her has she gracefully sang about following someone no matter what.

Of course she ended the performance with her biggest hit, “Heartbreaker”, much to the delighted (and loud) screams from the crowd near the stage. A fitting flourish to an excellent evening.

I have all four of her albums, but I hadn’t had the early ones on rotation in recent years. I’m glad she’s back on tour and visiting our fair city, so I have an excuse to spin those again, and to embrace Love + Fear. No regrets under the orange tree.

MARINA Setlist
Handmade Heaven
Enjoy Your Life
I Am Not a Robot
To Be Human
Orange Trees
Teen Idle
Believe In Love
Bubblegum Bitch
Emotional Machine
No More Suckers
I’m Not Hungry Anymore

End of The Earth


Daya (Opener) Setlist
Hide Away
Back to Me
Left Me Yet
Feel Good
Don’t Let Me Down (The Chainsmokers cover)


* By singing a diverse range of songs, playing keyboard for a few, constant choreographed dancing. yeah that’s a performance!

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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