Norwegian pop artist AURORA delighted a sold out crowd at the Danforth Music Hall on March 2, 2019. The show brought an evening of captivating, otherworldly sounds to Toronto.
An intricate backdrop featuring a forest with winding tree roots and a sun-lit lake hung behind the performers, setting an ethereal mood in the venue. Streamers and large paper decorations gracefully floated above the stage, making it look like giant jellyfish were swimming around the band. Stepping out on stage sporting an orange tulle-filled skirt, AURORA bounced about stage like a lively fairy.
Opening up with Churchyard from her latest album Infections of a Different Kind, the singer didn’t hesitate to bring her all right off the bat. Churchyard is a track that uses AURORA’s floating vocals to tell a story, and throws in a great deal of vocal percussion to accent important moments in the music. In the live performance, the tune produced a sense of urgency as AURORA commanded the stage, her voice effortlessly striking through key moments of the song as it built.
Breaks between each song were spent telling long stories or engaging in banter with the audience. AURORA spoke with a gentle voice and told jokes to the crowd. Popular conversation topics included how cold it was outside, what would happen if her toes fell off from frostbite, and asking the crowd what they would do if their toes fell off. Following the toe conversation, she introduced the next song as a song for “anyone that’s emotional,” which garnered supportive shouts from the crowd, and launched into All Is Soft Inside. Breathy vocals danced over the tune’s melody, as she sang lyrics about deeply feeling your emotions and being connected with those around us.
Halfway through the set, the band walked off stage allowing AURORA and her guitarist to perform an acoustic rendition of It Happened Quiet. The stripped down version of the song was just as captivating as the recorded version, beginning with a gentle softness that built into a commanding power. The silence in the venue allowed AURORA’s vocals to permeate through the room and surround the audience.
Playing a number of singles from her 2016 album All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, fans were treated to favourites like Runaway and Running with the Wolves. An inspiring track that quite literally makes you think about running and never looking back, Running with the Wolves ended the set with a bang before coming back for a two-song encore.
Before beginning the final encore, AURORA spoke to the audience about overcoming her fear of performing. “I look at your faces and they’re filled with so much kindness,” she said to the crowd of 1,500 at the Danforth Music Hall, expressing that their love is what helps her keep going. It was a truly tender moment shared between the artist and fans.
The emotional final ballad, Infections of a Different Kind was a beautiful piano number about forgiveness that left a hush on the venue. As the night came to a close, AURORA ended her encore with Queendom, an exciting electro-pop number with an anthemic chorus and an inspiring message that built the sense of community that was felt throughout the venue that evening.