What’s Delusion all about and is it important? Judging from the crowd, and the rapt-with-attention faces of the (mainly) older audience at Laurie Anderson’s performance of Delusion at BAM last week, Anderson’s voice does speak to her generation. Is the fact that some of us aren’t part of her 60-something fan base the reason why we didn’t fully connect to her monologue?

The music was lulling and powerful, the visuals, often striking, but many of Anderson’s tales, musings about ancestors and science, dreams and fragments of memories were the weak link that failed to bring us fully under her spell.  Mother dying, however, always an important theme, was a standout segment and the night’s most unsettling (in a good way) projection.  As Anderson told of her mother’s last moments and final utterances, the scene behind her was shockingly distanced: the back of Anderson’s head, looming at the right of the screen, talking while she watches a young woman (the mother figure), as she lays breathing her last moments on the floor of a dark, lofty room. There’s a dog sniffing around and nudging the body, and an man occasionally snapping a photo, an eerie overseer standing in the corner.

Anderson’s’ comical take on her system of tasks and rewards, which opened the performance, eased us into the show with a laugh, and later, her tale of visiting an Icelandic farm to ride the ponies and meeting the farmer with an elfin twinkle in his eye and grand notions of opening a hopping nightclub on his land, (a man who reminded her of her father), was one of the more surreal, gripping moments of the night. Yet when Anderson pointed a finger at corporations or talked of China’s idea of owning the moon, or even, favorite family dogs, it seemed a little clichéd, but perhaps, that was her point: there’s not much we can say, do or think that is truly original, but a performance of this size can work to put these ideas on a tall, if pretentious, pedestal for all to ponder.

The violin, which Anderson played throughout the show, was a highlight, weaving the show’s sequences together brilliantly. The music provided by her two fellow musicians, viola player Eyvind Kang, and horns/bass saxophonist Colin Stetson, who played in silhouette behind backlit screens, was also one of the most powerful elements of the show, with pieces often swelling to chaotic peaks and making the the night’s flux of meditations more largely felt.–Madeline Virbasius/Photos by Rahav Segev