Mitski Brings Laurel Hell to Radio City with Two Sold Out Shows

Following the release of her latest full-length studio album, “Laurel Hell,” beloved indie musician Mitski returned to New York City the weekend of July 22, 2022 for two sold out nights at Radio City Music Hall. Originally scheduled for March, these and a few other tour dates were postponed due to COVID. Canadian indie folk band the Weather Station opened for Mitski both nights at Radio City.

Mitski performs at Radio City Music Hall, Photography by David Reichmann

The Weather Station mentioned “This show is by far the biggest venue we’ve ever played,” and thanked Mitski for bringing them along. Their signature soothing tones and melodies rang through the historic Manhattan hall. The crowd ate it up, anticipation for Mitski’s set rising as the energy in the room increased by the minute.

The Weather Station performs at Radio City Music Hall, opening for Mitski, Photography by David Reichmann

Mitski’s set began with her hit single, “Love Me More,” a pounding rhythmic anthem of desperation and desire. The crowd screamed as the first notes played, and screamed again when the track concluded.

Mitski at Radio City Music Hall, Photography by David Reichmann

Mitski’s hypnotic and intense dances were inspired by Butoh, a form of Japanese dance theater, and featured exaggerated motions and physical storytelling through dance. The stories of her songs came alive in her dances, especially with her second song of the night, “Working for the Knife.” The Butoh influence also made an appearance in the song’s music video.

Mitski performs “Working for the Knife” at Radio City Music Hall, Photography by David Reichmann

“Working for the Knife” was the first preceding single leading up to the release of “Laurel Hell.” This also marked her first major release since 2018, when she had taken a hiatus following the release of her last full-length album, “Be the Cowboy.” The album would go on to be a huge hit, but in interviews at the time Mitski had expressed discomfort with the massive mainstream attention the album had received, and she announced her hiatus from music at a concert at Central Park in 2019. “Working for the Knife” addresses these issues directly, illustrating the struggle between her artistic desire to create and the overwhelming demands of the music industry and capitalist work culture in general. The song is a hard-hitting and thoughtful meditation on the struggles of artists to stay creative and productive, and her vivid and evocative dance choreography captures just that.

Mitski waves hands with crowd at Radio City, Photography by David Reichmann

Despite saying very little to the audience throughout the evening, Mitski did open up about her experience as a New Yorker towards the end of the show. “I wrote a lot of these songs in New York,” she said. “I was unhappy here. It was so hard. And realized it didn’t have to be so hard, so I moved. But every time I come back, I realize, ‘God damn it, I miss it.’” She added, “You don’t have to be unhappy. You can change it.”

Mitski at Radio City, Photography by David Reichmann

Her massive 23-track setlist included many hits and deep cuts from her six-album catalog. Fans sang along at every opportunity and danced through every moment. Standout tracks included “Washing Machine Heart,” “Nobody,” “Should’ve Been Me,” and “The Only Heartbreaker.” For her encore, she performed “A Pearl,” and left the stage with a bow. The crowd cheered wildly and screamed their love for her. Mitski’s Laurel Hell Tour continues, and you can buy tickets for remaining dates here. Her catalog is available to stream here. And you can listen to the Weather Station here.

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