III Points Festival

Shapeshifter Rosalía Transformed Before Our Eyes During Her Headlining Set at III Points

Rosalía delivered a spectacle on the second day of III Points. See more photos from III Points day two here.
Rosalía delivered a spectacle on the second day of III Points. See more photos from III Points day two here. Photo by Jake Pierce
Spanish phenom Rosalía has reintroduced herself to Miami countless times in numerous iterations. Performing on the III Points Mind Melt stage to a sea of fans that stretched all the way to the opposing Outer Space stage, it appeared as if the entire festival descended upon the main stage to get a glimpse of the chameleonic artist's latest transformation as a Motomami before she zooms into her next era.

Miami first met Rosalía back in March 2018 when she performed at Flamenco Rave, a showcase hosted by local nonprofit FUNDarte featuring some of the leading figures of her country's contemporary flamenco movement, including her debut album collaborator Raül Refree.

She'd already undergone a stark musical transformation when she returned for a private performance at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach just nine months later during Art Basel. That came on the heels of the release of her breakthrough album, El Mal Querer, which granted her critical acclaim and recognition outside of the flamenco world. By the time she played her first public ticketed event in the city, she was singing reggaeton tracks alongside the likes of Bad Bunny and Nicky Jam at the former American Airlines Arena. Both her sonic experimentation and her star power accelerated in 17 short months at a speed only Motomamis can achieve.

Taking the stage Saturday night in thick black-and-white leather exuding the rigidity of rubber tires and flanked by dancers wearing light-up Motomami motorcycle helmets, Rosalía opened with her ode to transformation, Motomami opener "Saoko."
"Me contradigo, yo me transformo/Soy to'a' las cosa', yo me transformo," she sang as the camera zipped and zoomed around her: "I contradict myself, I transform/I am all things, I transform."

The camera work was one of the most notable aspects of the show's minimalist, futurist design. The operator wore a stabilized camera rig used to weave around the singer and her backup dancers with ease, resulting in whirling close-ups and foreshortened perspective views that made the singer appear gigantic as she pounded the stage during flamenco choreo breakdowns. The intimate view gave the production the feel of a Homecoming-style, behind-the-scenes documentary, as if the crowd was witnessing the filming and editing of a high-budget concert film in real time.

The set leaned heavily on the experimental Motomami, the singer's latest album and a shoo-in for this year's best albums lists. Shortening the supporting tour's setlist for her one-hour III Points set, she skipped performances of "De Plata," from her debut album Los Ángeles, and El Mal Querer single "Pienso en Tu Mirá." She only revisited the breakthrough album for "Malamente" and "De Aquí No Sales," the latter of which foreshadowed her next sonic evolution by punctuating verses with aggressive motorcycle sounds. Rosalía also used the track to showcase the bridge between the two seemingly disparate records, as she seamlessly mashed up the El Mal Querer track with Motomami's "Bulerías."
The slower moments did not translate as well to the festival stage. Though they shone a welcome spotlight on the artist's classically trained pipes, the crowd's intensity dipped noticeably during songs such as "G3 N15," which likely would have sparkled in a theater. The contrast with the crowd's eruption at the first notes of the next song, "Linda," made it clear how much the energy had dimmed for the homesick ballad. One notable exception was "Hentai," one of the most tender piano ballads ever written about dick-riding, which the crowd sang with vigor.

The singer began to stray from Motomami toward the end of the set, particularly during a medley of her standalone reggaeton singles, including her verse on the remix of Sech's "Relación" and Ozuna collaboration "Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi." She paid homage to Daddy Yankee with an interlude remix of "Gasolina" before moving on to mambo track "Despechá," a taste of her latest sonic stopover.

She wrapped up the set with 2019's "Con Altura," the single that signaled her sharp turn into reggaeton and Latin pop, before returning to the stage to perform Motomami's "Chicken Teriyaki" and "Cuuuuuuuuuute."
"Se creen especial/Como un año en Miami que nieva," she sang on the last track, just as the rain began to sprinkle over the disco ball. It didn't snow last night, but Rosalía ensured we still witnessed something special: alchemy.

Setlist:
- "Saoko"
- "Candy"
- "Bizcochito"
- "La Fama"
- "De Aquí No Sales"/"Bulerías"
- "Motomami"
- "G3 N15"
- "Linda"
- "Besos Moja2" (A capella)
- "La Noche de Anoche"
- "Hentai"
- Reggaeton montage
- "La Combi Versace"
- "Relación (Remix)"
- "TKN"
- "Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi"
- "Gasolina" (Interlude)
- "Despechá"
- "Malamente"
- "Delirio de Grandeza"
- "LAX" (Interlude)
- "Con Altura"

Encore:
- "Chicken Teriyaki"
- "Cuuuuuuuuuute"
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Celia Almeida is the digital editor of American Way and the former arts and music editor of Miami New Times. Her writing has been featured in Venice, Paper, and Billboard; and she co-hosts Too Much Love on Jolt Radio.
Contact: Celia Almeida

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