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  • Nic F. Anderson

Rina Sawayama Sells Out Multiple NYC Shows

Rina Sawayama, a rock-pop musician with the vocals chords of an angel, has been on tour performing her break out album SAWAYAMA after it had been postponed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her performance was worth the wait.

During this time, Sawayama added two more shows to her stop New York City, to which she joked is now a residency. The first two shows were at Brooklyn Steel in Williamsburg on May 8 and May 9; the third was on May 13 at Terminal 5, just north of Hell’s Kitchen; and the final show was at Webster Hall, located in between Union Square and NOHO.

On day two of her four day appearance in New York City, fans neatly filed themselves in line to go through Brooklyn Steel’s security. Chatter about what Sawayama might wear and fan renditions of her song floated around the sound waves. Once inside, fans made mad dashes to the bathroom, coat check, grab drinks and secure a spot the floor. Several people excitedly squawked at friends: “We have to get to the front row!”

Sawayama started releasing singles in 2013 and later released her first extended play “RINA” in 2017. In 2020, after signing on to Dirty Hit, released the full studio album “SAWAYAMA” which has since received global praise.

She took the stage with a slick pony tail, bright red outfit and red heels— a show stopping outfit. Fan knew within the first few notes that Sawayama’s first song was “Dynasty.” Her transitions in between songs were flawless and she never missed a beat.

When not beautifully transitioning from one song to the next, Sawayama would address the crowd in a genuine manner. She spoke on the meaning of certain songs, such as “Tokyo Love Hotel” being written about society’s cultural appropriation of Japanese culture and “Paradisin’” being her coming out song (Sawayama is an out and proud pansexual woman).

The two backup dancers were larger than life and if they ever made a misstep, no one but them knew about it — all of their movements were on beat.

Several songs and outfit changes later, the crowd thought she was done. People began to chant “Rina! Rina! Rina!” in an attempt to urge Sawayama to come out for an encore. This wasn’t necessary because even though Sawayama already provided a three course meal in her performance to the audience, she had extra dessert for us planned: “XS”; “LUCID”; and a cover of Lady Gaga’s song “Free Woman.”

Sawayama is more than a rock-pop queen; she is a true performer and can do it all.

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