Marina and the Diamonds – Terminal 5 – December 6, 2012
It was the end of the night at Terminal 5, and Marina Diamandis, who goes by the stage name Marina and the Diamonds, sat alone at a keyboard with a single bright spotlight focused directly on her. Wearing a flowing white gown and a beauty-contest sash that read TEEN IDOL—her fourth or fifth epic costume change of the night—she was surrounded by a 16-year-old girl’s fantasy bedroom, complete with stuffed animals, a lace gown and heart pillow, while 3,000 screaming teens (and a few adoring adults) expertly sang along to the encore, which simultaneously bemoaned the difficulty of adolescence while expressing optimism for the future. “Yeah, I wish I’d been a, wish I’d been a teen, teen idle,” Diamandis crooned. The song made crystal clear the full night’s worth of shrieking, crazy, rampaging young fans with fake IDs and heaps of bottled-up feelings. Diamandis is their idol, their guiding light, providing a modicum of hope that one day, they too can leave behind this awkward phase of life and like the song states: “Come alive.”
On the surface, Diamandis seems like any other generic pop star, but this isn’t just a disingenuous ploy to sell concert tickets, records and merch—she comes off as quite genuine. Like any pop diva these days, Diamandis touts a perfectly manicured image, a highly choreographed show, and songwriting and production help from some of the most respected names in the business, including Dr. Luke, Cirkut and Diplo. But her blood-and-guts (and chocolate-cake) lyrics bare her soul completely: This has been her dream for years. As a teen herself, Diamandis yearned for stardom, even going as far as disguising herself in drag during a record label’s tryouts for a boy band.
For obvious reasons, that gig didn’t work out, but she received a callback a week later, and now she finally has the spotlight shining brightly on her. She burns through her set as the young audience attempts (and fails) to mimic her booming, commanding voice. After the playing all of her hits, including “Primadonna,” “Bubblegum Bitch” and a particularly rousing version of “How to Be a Heartbreaker,” Diamandis addressed her fans directly, expressing her sincere gratitude for their support in making her dreams come true. And somewhere in the audience, a teen girl plotted her own path to stardom. —Alex Kapelman