B de Boston: Rosalía Begins her US Motomami Tour in Massachusetts

More stories from Angelina Velasquez


Spanish singer Rosalía surprised the world earlier this year with “Motomami”, an album that contains sounds from flamenco to neo-perreo. A few months later, dates for MOTOMAMI WORLD TOUR were posted, and Boston was the first US city to experience the show. (photo courtesy of Angelina Vasquez)

A whole crowd clad in latex, and red, white, and black leather, with boots to match, stood on the floor waiting for the lights to go off. Suddenly, a white screen flashes on and drawings of butterflies and the word “Motomami” appear. The countdown started, and at 9:30 pm, it was time.

The lights flicker. Strong Vroom Vrooms like the ones from Charli XCX’s song fill the room. Then, Rosalía and her dancers enter the room making robot sounds while walking with their bodies facing the floor, with loose arms, and helmets adorned with an “M” shape illuminated in white. They stop at center stage and Rosalía goes up, showing a blue custom Dion Lee motorbiker-inspired outfit, which she will be using the whole night. Behind her, three large screens show the Motomami logo, as Rosalía takes off her helmet.

The first song is “SAOKO,” an ode to Wisin and Daddy Yankee’s Old School Reggaeton “Saoko.” But apart from being danceable, its heavy industrial sounds make it avant-garde. Right after, slow and sweet reggaeton bop “CANDY” starts and every broken heart in the room is allowed to shout out “PERO DE OLVIDARTE YO YA HICE UN ARTE…” [but I already mastered forgetting you]. This made a great start to the Motomami World Tour, since both songs are melodically powerful and claimed by the public.

However, we were not ready for the third track: “BIZCOCHITO.”

At one of the first Motomami shows, Rosalía made an interesting gesture and body posture at the start of this song, which ended up being reproduced on social media as a meme. Following that performance, there’s no doubt that every fan wants to watch (or record) that iconic moment. Same with “Abcdefg,” a one-minute recital of Rosalía’s version of the alphabet, that users all over the internet have remade their own way. 

It’s safe to say that Boston shook ass that night, since Rosalía’s top songs like “CHICKEN TERIYAKI,” “Con Altura” and the highly-anticipated “BIZCOCHITO” are very energetic and danceable tracks! Of course, dancers on stage contributed in high part for the show to be a fusion between human movements and heavy electronic sounds.

The set-up was only the dance crew moving on a static stage with a blank background and two screens that project what a cameraman on-stage recorded. And that’s exactly where the magic happened. After playing with the public, the camera followed Rosa walking slowly to the back of the stage. Suddenly, “MOTOMAMI” plays, and people get hyped because it’s time for the dancers to make a human motorcycle.

For this, the cameraman portrayed the dancer’s sensual routine in mid-panorama angles. Then, Rosalía gets on top of the motorcycle looking like a bad-ass rider, with the wind in her hair. The screens behind her light up, making it look like she’s riding through a desert. Making the crowd play with the optics allowed technology to be an essential part of the show. 

And what a time to talk about technology, since it’s well-known that when Rosa sings “La Noche de Anoche,” she goes off-stage and records people singing with what appears to be an iPhone (and it actually was!) with a super-protected selfie stick and case. Plus, on “CHICKEN TERIYAKI,” the dance crew ride scooters all over the stage while holding the phone as if they were people recording themselves and fooling around.

When I say technology – or, to be real, media – has been essential for this concert, I mean Rosalía on stage playing the piano with the iconic Windows XP background behind her, and the camera recording her being an iPhone! This all makes it seem as if she was just some dude recording themself for YouTube or any other social media. 

After a lot of dancing and magnificent visual performances, it was time for Rosalía to show her powerful voice. My personal favorites were “BULERÍAS,” a strong new-flamenco track that includes a great dance performance; “G3 N15,” a gospel-ballad in which Rosa talks about being distanced from her family due to quarantine; and “DELIRIO DE GRANDEZA,” an exquisite remake from bolero-Cuban-singer Justo Betancourt’s song of the same name. Finally, she covered the famous, old-school reggaeton song “Perdoname,” and even played guitar to recite the lovely “Dolerme,” right after saluting Berklee College of Music students, which she highlighted hearing about all the time while studying back in Catalonia.

However, the real masterpiece – being the most awaited and controversial song – was the art-pop piano ballad “HENTAI (<3).”

It’s a very controversial song because Rosalía sings, “Te quiero ride como a mi bike, hazme un tape modo spike” [I wanna ride you like my bike, make me a tape like Spike (Jones)] while playing sweet piano melodies. The song looks to portrait the transition from innocence to maturity, including topics like being “pure” and “virgin” and wanting to evolve into adulthood: real sex, no fantasy. “HENTAI” is a popular favorite because the piano and Rosalía’s voice is so so good, plus, she includes gun noises and very Arca-type sounds, making the song way more fantastic. It’s a masterpiece.

Finally, Rosalía recited her “Abcdefg,” saying the “B” now stood for Boston. She then performed two of my personal favorites: “LA COMBI VERSACE,” mix of neo-perreo (futuristic reggaeton, DAMN), and closed the show with “CUUUUuuuuuute,” a track that transcends the walls of music by mixing deconstructed club, heavy samba, and even a piano-ballad moment. Iconic.

From her disruptive music production, cyberpunk style and minimalist show concept, Rosalía has shown the world she is avant-garde, or at this point, simply art itself.

I will definitely be reviewing the full album soon!