Norway's foremost electronica duo played to a sold-out Oslo Spektrum last weekend. The venue turned into an impromptu nightclub and featured several surprise guests.
It's hard to believe it's been almost 22 years since Melody AM received universal acclaim across the dance music world.
Following years of collaborations and a focus on re-releasing through a Lost Tapes series, Röyksopp relaunched themselves once again last year. The first studio albums for eight years, the three-album series Profound Mysteries was launched together with collections of short films and animated visuals.
To celebrate the project, the duo went out on tour this winter. The final date in their True Electric mini-tour was in Oslo. I booked a ticket months ago as soon as the tour was announced. Here's what happened!
A homecoming for Röyksopp
There's always something very special about a home gig. While the Röyksopp duo are from Tromsø and spent their formative years as a group in Bergen, Oslo nevertheless served as the finale for this tour, and true fans came out in great numbers.
Oslo Spektrum was sold out. That's around 10,000 people, some seated, some standing. What fascinated me was the mix of punters. It was one of the biggest range of ages I've ever seen at a gig.
Some of the older Norwegian couples in attendance seemed a bit surprised at the youthful energy on the dance floor!
One of the best features of the Profound Mysteries trilogy was the guest vocalists. That's going been a trademark of Röyksopp but even more so on the recent albums.
The DJ duo were accompanied on stage as usual by dancers and costumed vocalists but they saved something special for this Oslo date.
Susanne Sundfør, Astrid S and Gunhild Ramsay Kovacs joined the duo on stage, the latter two singing live with the band for the very first time.
Susanne Sundfør in particular was in fantastic form, looking like she thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. She joined the duo for four or maybe even five songs including the fabulous Running to the Sea.
The Röyksopp set list would have disappointed some older fans from the Melody AM era as there wasn't a single track from the 2001 release. But to be fair to the duo, the concert had been advertised as a live adaptation of the Profound Mysteries series.
Around half the songs performed came from the new albums. The group kicked things off with Impossible featuring vocals from Alison Goldfrapp. I'm sure neither of the costumed ‘vocalists' were her, though there would of course be many special guests to come!
The thumping version of The Girl and the Robot signalled the intention of the duo to create a rave-like atmosphere in the venue. Well over two hours later, a strobe-heavy performance of Like An Old Dog rounded off the nightclub experience.
While Robyn has sung with Röyksopp before, she was one notable absence from the roster of guests. But such is the popularity of the Swedish singer, her remixed vocals on both Monument and Do It Again were some of the most well-received moments of the night.
What others thought
Norwegian newspaper VG scored the gig a four, using the dice-roll rating system: “At times it feels a bit as if Röyksopp would most like to organize a rave tonight. To a certain extent, they did as well – with partially sparkling results. But they were not entirely successful in moving the club into the concert hall, or vice versa.”
Dagsavisen said of the “big night with Røyksopp” that the duo “invited us to a two-hour dance party, and eventually managed to make Oslo Spektrum feel like a rather intimate club venue.”
Finally, the Music News blog picked out the live variations performed by the duo as a highlight: “Röyksopp twists, remixes and sometimes plays synth and percussion over the sequences that build up the songs. It is clear that they have full control and can take the concert in directions that they have not been done before. When This Time, This Place… starts, it's like being at a good old-fashioned rave party, even if a large part of the at least 10,000 who were at the concert are sitting. On the floor, however, there is full dancing, arms in the air and uncontrolled movements.”