When Rosalía took the stage at New York's reopened Webster Hall for the final of two sold-out shows on Tuesday (April 30), part of the 2019 Red Bull Music Festival, it was hard to believe the Catalan singer is barely six months removed from her breakthrough project.
The artist's Spanish-language El Mal Querer arrived last November, enveloping listeners in its mesmerizing current of classic flamenco and futuristic pop. Already a star in her native Spain, the singer earned praise from tastemakers like soon-to-be collaborator James Blake for the LP, which was nominated for five Latin Grammys. And on this occasion, each fan in the surging crowd -- which included Dua Lipa and Frank Ocean (and on night one, Gigi Hadid) -- seemed to know every word to every song.
That is, when they weren't using every bit of strength in their vocal cords to scream.
The reaction took Rosalía off guard, too. "I want to say this is the second night I'm here, and you know, this isn't normal," the singer admitted a few songs into her set. "It's a big honor to be here tonight, and it means a lot to me, and it means a lot to my people."
Similar to the experience of listening to her music, Rosalía doesn't own her space onstage so much as create a world within it. In this one, every relationship is a passionate, doomed romance and the tear-streaked heroine sported red vinyl pants, a sports bra and bedazzled acrylic nails. Emerging from the spotlight in just that, the 25-year-old kicked off her performance with a slick choreography sequence, flanked by six dancers in matching all-white outfits.
Mini dance routines were interspersed throughout the concert, during which Rosalía belted out hits like the jealous "Pienso En Tu Mirá" and Justin Timberlake-sampling "Bagdad," holding her own through renditions of collabs "Barefoot In The Park"(sans James Blake) and "Con Altura" (sans J Balvin).
Rosalía's two-night stand at Webster, the newly-renovated venue which Jay-Z had christened just days earlier, marked the latest of several high-profile gigs for the singer. Earlier this month, she made her Coachella debut amid a seemingly unprecedented slate of Latin acts at the festival, including Balvin, Bad Bunny and Mon Laferte. Just last week, she took the stage at the Billboard Latin Music Awards to perform "Con Altura" with Balvin. And she'll hit the stage at Chicago's Lollapalooza come August.
Still, gazing out into Tuesday night's crowd, a teary-eyed Rosalía told fans: "I have never felt what I feel onstage with you."
After closing her set with -- of course -- fan favorite "Malamente," the singer was goaded back onstage by fans demanding otra track, for which she chose to cover tango great Carlos Gardel's classic "Volver." In a rare quiet moment, the singer dropped her fierce stare to tighten her high ponytail and flash an almost bashful smile, letting the crowd's screams fill the silence, and reveling in it. El Mal Querer -- the bad love -- may be an omen, but the singer's future is looking pretty bright.