It's hard to believe that just 13 months ago Rosalía was playing an under the radar show with Raül Refree ("a sensational new duo in contemporary flamenco"), at one of NYC's most intimate venues (Joe's Pub), as part Flamenco Festival NY in support of the 2017 album Los ángeles that she and Raül made together (amazing cover of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's "I See A Darkness" included). Like the Adele and the Antony & the Johnsons shows at the same NY venue, that one may just go down as legendary (I wish I was there!).

To be fair, Rosalía was already nominated for a Latin Grammy by the time that Joe's Pub show happened, but she returned to NYC on Monday night (4/29) a true star in this country, with a growing list of impressive collaborators, and in support of a 2018 album that has redefined her as an influential avant-pop star to Spanish and English speakers alike.

Fans who could score tickets (and many who did speak Spanish) packed into the first of two Webster Hall shows that sold out instantly, singing along and screaming louder than I ever remember hearing screams inside a club show. I asked somebody who was at Jay-Z -- one of two other shows to happen at the newly reopened & revamped Webster Hall so far, along with Dillon Francis -- if the crowd sounded as loud. They said it wasn't even close.

Rosalía deserved every one of those cheers, as she sang and danced her way through an hour-long show backed by a team of dancers, backup singers, and her
DJ/producer/backup-singer (and former buzz band) El Guincho who was pushing buttons in the back. The sound system at Webster Hall now is pretty amazing, and this show made full use of that, as well as the large stage which was backed with a video screen. If you watched video from her Coachella set earlier on this tour, you know what it was like. Her voice is as amazing live as it is on record, and if anybody had any doubts, she squashed those when switching the set from full pop show to a cappella. In all cases, she had full command of the stage, her team and the entire crowd, who she addressed with appreciation a few times. It was an arena-ready show, and she seems to already have an arena full of fans.

The setlist (that you can see below), did not include her new Game of Thrones song, but did include her song on James Blake's album, her song on J Balvin's album, her newer single with J Balvin, some unreleased songs that she has been playing live, a track from Los ángeles, and lots of tracks from El Mal Querer (one of our -- and everybody in that room's -- favorite albums of 2018). "MALAMENTE" might be that album's most popular song, and it is in fact what she closed with, before returning to play Carlos Gardel cover "Volver" a cappella to finish the show.

The show was also the first event in the month-long series of special events that is the Red Bull Music Festival. It continues tonight (4/30) with the second Rosalía show, followed by Onyx Collective + special guests in East River Park on Friday (and that one is free)...

For a single night at one of New York’s gorgeous city parks, Onyx Collective will put on a freeform collaboration with Kelsey Lu, John Benitez Salsa Band, Pretty Sick, and as many other musicians as they see fit. Though guests will include artists who specialize in hip-hop, soul, and R&B, jazz will only take five on Onyx Collective’s time.

Rosalía will be back in the States this summer to play Lollapalooza, and this fall to play ACL.

Pictures of the Webster Hall show (serpentwithfeet's well-matched opening set included) are in the gallery above. Video and setlist below:

Rosalía -- Webster Hall setlist (April 29, 2019)
Como ali
Barefoot in the Park (James Blake collaboration)
De madrugá
Te estoy amando locamente (Las Grecas cover)
Brillo (J Balvin collaboration)
Lo Presiento
Con altura (J Balvin collaboration)
Volver (Carlos Gardel cover)

photos by Ryan Muir

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