Arts and Entertainment

St. Vincent’s “Daddy’s Home” Comes to NYC

A review of St. Vincent’s “Daddy’s Home” concert at Radio City Music Hall.

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Annie Clark, who performs under the stage name “St. Vincent,” has always produced powerful performances. From her renowned album and tour “Masseduction” (2017), where she appeared on stage in a hot pink leather suit with intense backing tracks and video footage, to her venture into horror cinema and her most recent New York-inspired complete makeover and release “Daddy’s Home” (2021), her music has always been unique and her sound inimitable. Aside from being a talented vocalist and guitarist, Clark has also developed a gritty sound that, with each project, morphs into something completely unexpected.

Thus, I expected nothing less when I ventured over to Radio City Music Hall for my first concert in a year and a half to see the New York stop of Clark’s “Daddy’s Home” U.S. tour. As I stepped into Radio City Music Hall, I was reminded of the charm the space has: the marble floors, countless windows, and sparkling chandeliers created an elegant scene. It was only fitting that she perform in such a renowned space; her newest project is centered around 1970s New York. Beyond the glamorous attire and alluring sounds of “Daddy’s Home,” Clark dissects her struggles with an incarcerated father and her relationships, specifically in adulthood. While her music is centered around her personal experiences, Clark performed the show as a character, sporting a bleach-blond bob and vintage Gucci suit. From the beginning, the concert both lived up to and subverted expectations. After I took my seat in the lush velvet chairs of the orchestra, comedian Ali Macofsky stepped onto the stage as an opener. Dressed in a simple, all-black suit with a microphone and a glass of water perched on a stool, she appeared nondescript. At first, she was unsuccessful, but after the crowd warmed up to the unorthodox choice, they became a lot more open to the idea of having a comedian open the show, which further added to the 1970s feel of the event.

After about an hour of her successful set, Macofsky stepped off the stage and the lights dimmed. The hall erupted into claps and cheers as the lights illuminated a backdrop of a colorful NYC skyline. The crowd held their breath, anticipating the show’s beginning. On walked St. Vincent… or so we thought. Instead it was a character dressed exactly like her, with the same blonde bob. Once it was revealed that she was hiding around a glass set, she started the show off with the song “Digital Witness,” a favorite from her 2014 self-titled album. The song, about the façade of social media and external validation, was a masterful parallel of the deceptive trick that preceded the performance. Despite the show being centered around her newest album, it featured lots of her previous work. It was exciting to hear Clark’s older music and appreciate how her sound had changed as well as her ability to adapt her older songs to sound modern and fit her current style.

There were many more times during the show where Clark showed the audience her personable and humorous side. At one point, she told a story about being recognized at a restaurant and thinking the waitress had covered the bill when Clark had actually just approached the wrong counter to pay. There was a moment where she paused in the middle of a song to take a pretend call from a manager, telling them she was in “the greatest city in the world.”

Aside from “Digital Witness,” she played several other classics, like “Masseduction”—an upbeat, intense fan-favorite—and “New York,” about finding a home in a person in this big city. Though the concert was based around her newest album, the backup singers and band elevated her older songs to a new level. She was accompanied by her Down and Out Downtown Band and both them and the background singers were a huge part of the story; the singers milled about with drinks in their hands, pretended to do their makeup, and performed an intricate dance holding light rods. Despite the strobe lights and intense volume, the sound of the crowd singing along rose above the ruckus.

Eventually, Clark began singing songs from “Daddy’s Home,” including hits like “Down and Out Downtown,” which is about finding love in a city so big and the experiences that come with it. Like, she sang, “carrying last night’s heels on the morning train” back home. Following the romantic, eerie track, she played “Pay Your Way In Pain,” a hit from her new record. It reflects the struggle of doing everyday tasks, like going to run errands but getting to the grocery store and realizing that “the shelves were all empty,” alluding not to the displacement she felt in her own body but to the pandemic (when the album was written), reflecting the mass hysteria that emptied grocery stores during the beginning of lockdown.

Clark is really unique in this way as she has the ability to take these small snippets of her life and make them into a much larger, more universal message. She has frequently been called “the female Bowie,” not just for her music but also for her phenomenal stage presence and the extravagant story she tells with each concert. It’s safe to say that this performance was a testament to her reputation as an incredible artist.