The Hollywood Palladium is a special place. While most bands feel like they’ve made it when they play a stadium, it could be argued that the palladium is just as if not more important when it comes to the legacy and history of Los Angeles. And despite a brief hiatus when the venue was shut down, it served as a bellwether for musical impact and cultural potency. This evening our crowned Queen was Tove Lo, the pop sensation responsible for hits like “Habits (Stay High).”
By the time we arrived the venue was positively packed. The audience was a slightly tweaked version of your typical pop show audience. There were, of course, a slew of people who look as though they could be influencers but are clearly not influencers, since they’re only in standing VIP. There was your usual crop of bored boyfriends, but there was an impressive array of stoners even by post-legalization LA standards.
Early on in the night, Broods was holding sway over the sold-out crowd. At first, it seemed like she might have some trouble keeping the attention of the unruly bunch but the fact that the lobby and bar line remained fairly empty was a solid sign. While the crowd seemed calm, we can be sure there was plenty of dancing taking place closer to the stage, though there was no way to get there thanks to the densely packed bodies. Luckily the standing VIP had quite a bit more breathing room so we opted to watch Broods and her incredible choreography from above.
Finally, the main event herself took the stage right on time at 9:15. It was like someone started a fire in the theater then put the whole place on a moving roller coaster. The screams were so loud that it was difficult to even think, much less hear Tove Lo as she performed. Of course, she opened up with “Glad He’s Gone” which got amazing crowd participation on the call and response bits of the track. Opening up with one of her biggest hits certainly paid off and didn’t blow off any of the energy in the crowd. As she moved into “Bad as the Boys” they somehow funneled even more people into the room as ALMA came out to perform her featured portion of the track. The core of her set featured tracks like “Cool Girl” and “Disco Tits” and of course gave her tons of room to dance and wow the audience with impressive visuals and amazing moves.
What was even more impressive than the set itself was that she still moved forward with an entire dancing section. While that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, the fact that she did the whole set, and still danced, with a broken foot is worth some points in our book. By far the best dance track of the night was “Are U gonna tell her” which featured her two stellar backup dancers and an ample amount of twerking from Tove Lo herself. Of course, during “Talking Bodies” she did end up briefly pulling down her shirt as she often does at shows. Predictably the crowd ate this up, but she kept the energy going well into the night and moved onto “Really don’t like u” which kept the crowd moving through the night.
Towards the end of the show, she made a brief speech about how happy she was to be here, and how much she loved that the audience loves and understands her. This led into a solo keyboard performance of “Moments” which got the whole crowd singing along. Of course, the show somehow got even crazier when she brought out Charli XCX and ALMA for “Out Of My Head.” The show closed out with a stage light-soaked performance of “Out Of Mind” followed by a stellar encore of “Sweettalk my Heart” and “Habits (Stay High)” which perfectly capped off the best pop show of the year to date.
To be completely honest I didn’t come into this night expecting a lot. As Angelenos, we see our fair share of pop stars and most of them are pretty good, but perfection can wear thin if you look too closely. Tove Lo is an exception to the rule. Onstage it’s clear she’s totally in command of herself and the audience. But it’s also apparent that she’s having fun instead of just doing a routine. That she danced as much as she did with a broken foot is compelling evidence that this is about more than the paycheck or providing a good show. This is a good time for her as much as it is for her fans, and that’s an energy you can’t replicate.
Photo Credit: Kalyn Oyer