The last time I saw Marina & The Diamonds perform was way back in 2010 at The Secret Garden Party as she and her band headlined their first festival. In the July summer sun, riding high on the release of her debut album 'The Family Jewels', Marina Lambrini Diamandis captivated the Cambridge crowd in a full length black dress and orange day-glo lippy.

Marina & The Diamonds

Fast forward almost five years exactly, and Marina and her band came to South East Kent to headline the opening night celebrations for the re-imagined Dreamland Pleasure Park in Margate. The sun shone throughout the day to bless the iconic amusement park's re-awakening, and as Marina & The Diamonds took to the stage the sky was blessed with a fitting, reddish, JMW Turner inspiring infusion to light up the night sky.

Marina, bedecked in cherry bauble headgear, looked resplendent in a body hugging (could have been sprayed on) blue jumpsuit that had an almost metallic lustre (think Poison Ivy meets Catwoman on the set of Star Trek). With her neon mic stand and James & The Giant Peach inspired stage set, Marina and her band looked every bit the part as they set about entertaining the sell-out crowd.

The set list was culled from all three of her albums and represented her back catalogue to great effect. There was plenty of tempo change, lots of crowd interaction, a clear and refreshing enthusiasm from Marina herself and, in the end, a very entertaining, enjoyable show.

We were treated to some great performances including 'Robots', 'Froot', 'Lies', a fantastic version of 'Primadonna' from Marina's number one second album, 'Electra Heart' and - the highlight of the night - 'Hollywood'. Marina mixed it up well with keyboard-led ballads trading places effortlessly with pumped up electro. Amongst others, 'Savages', 'Better Than That' and especially 'Can't Pin Me Down' showed how Marina & The Diamonds have developed and matured over the last few years.

Marina's voice was a lot better than I remember it; fuller, warmer and exponentially better than the vocal recording captured on 'The Family Jewels'. Her ability to hold, engage and enthral the crowd also made the show. Marina said she had been following the project for a while (Dreamland's redevelopment) and that she was "all for preserving great British entertainment" and her sentiments and enthusiasm on the night all rang true.

In between my first and last encounters with Marina & The Diamonds, she has played Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds as well as Coachella and Lollapalooza and now, as she plays her 'Neon Nature Tour', you can clearly see how much she still has to give, how much of a great performer she is and what a good show she is capable of putting on. Dreamland had come alive again. The park rides had played their part, the atmosphere and the many fantastically attired attendees had helped, but Marina had put the icing on the cake with a fabulous crowd pleasing performance.


Andrew Lockwood

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