REVIEW: Marina and the Diamonds, O2 Academy, Newcastle

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.
Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Marina Diamandis mesmerised a youthful audience with a three-part performance at the Arena.

Featuring mini-sets – dubbed ‘eras’ – covering each of her hit albums, Marina threw in a number of local touches, including revealing that her parents were married in Newcastle.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

She also attempted a Geordie accent – it sounded Welsh – and chatted about her visit to the ongoing market at Grey’s Monument.

The music, which worked as a greatest hits set, also hit the mark with her admiring, surprisingly well-behaved fans – most of whom were in their teens.

The final era, covering latest album Froot, featured more fluff but still lit up thanks to standout tracks such as I'm A Ruin and Forget.

Marina inspires great devotion from her fanbase, even though she hasn’t hit the heights of some of her contemporaries.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

This felt like an arena show on a smaller scale, complete with big screens and cutesy animations, and three grandiose outfits.

Opening the show an hour before Marina took to the stage, as backlogged queues at the door finally filtered out of the cold and into the venue, were new pop trio RIVRS.

Unfortunately, they had a certain 'club entertainment' feel to them, and didn’t seem ready for such a high-profile set, struggling to keep the audience's interest with their bland, nondescript music.

The only highlight was a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, which – while not a patch on the original – at least put an interesting spin on a familiar tune.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Marina’s performance opened with five tracks from her 2010 debut album The Family Jewels, the breakthrough which spawned hit singles I Am Not A Robot and Hollywood.

Both featured here, affectionately sung along to by the crowd, and from a performance standpoint it was the strongest of the three sets.

The transition to the second era saw the younger, innocent Marina transition through animation into the bubblegum princess of her second album, 2012's Electra Heart.

Her off-stage costume change took a couple of minutes, time filled in by the four members of her backing band – who largely faded into the background otherwise – taking centre stage with an instrumental break.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

She eventually returned to perform album signature Bubblegum Bitch and fan anthem Teen Idle, before arguably her most famous hit, Primadonna.

As part of a regular setlist it would usually be saved for an encore, and its appearance early on – complete with a toy prop called Marilyn - did somewhat deflate the set thereafter, especially following the transition into this year's Froot.

If this were a true greatest hits set, omitted songs such as Shampain and Radioactive would have featured, but instead there was some relative filler from the new release.

But the pop excellence of I'm A Ruin and the ascending energy of Forget picked things up, before Marina left the stage after the era’s five tracks.

She returned for a two-song encore, and the whole affair ended with a theatre-like stage bow with the five on-stage performers.

It had been a good show, deserving of the ovation – and as one of the most unique performers in pop, she will surely be welcomed similarly next time around.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.

Marina and the Diamonds at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Katy Blackwood.