Lorde returns to London with one of the year’s best albums in tow, witnessing her progression from Pure Heroine to Melodrama is magical, as is her performance.
The show has started before most of the audience have even realised, the PA blares out Kate Bush classic “Running Up That Hill”, a few teens around me ask parents and older friends “I love this, who sings it?”, their parents are more than keen enough to give them a lesson on Kate, as the song finishes an old style 80’s television box plays montages of various events and clips including the music video for the aforementioned Bush track and suddenly Lorde appears jumping straight into Disclosure collaboration ‘Magnets’.
It’s been four years since Lorde burst onto the scene with her stellar debut album “Pure Heroine”, back then I saw 17 year old “Baby Ella mucking about” as Lorde described it but she’s right she was just that, a young timid performer but what stood before me now was a much more experienced young woman with incredible confidence and control of her audience which really was a joy to watch.
‘Tennis Courts’ and ‘Hard Feelings’ follow, both of these tracks sound so much louder and quicker live, it only takes a quick glance around to see she’s already captured her audience, the crowd are bouncing and singing along at the top of the lungs. as the track concludes Lorde speaks of “wanting to try something different”, she reappears with a small blue xylophone, you could hear a pin drop as the crowd falls silent trying to work out what she’s playing, it’s the opening to “Buzzcut Season” and the feverish reaction from the audience are indication enough that her little experiment worked.
Lorde is very much an artist, interludes split up the segments of the show, the TV on the stage shows various clips all interlinked prerecorded poetry and speeches from Ella, it could come off as a gimmick but it doesn’t, it really works because she makes you believe in it, it’s her vision and her sincerity really comes across in her words, It may be high praise but she’s an artist in the same way her icons and peers before her like Kate Bush and David Bowie are.
“This show is all feelings, all the time” declares Lorde midway through her performance and she couldn’t be more correct, the crowd latch on to her every word, they share her laughter, her tears as well as her genuine awe and joy at the experience she’s creating.
“All of us in this room: it’s alchemy,” Lorde declares, throughout she constantly exclaims her surprise, “If you took a train, I appreciate it. If you live down the road and walked, I appreciate it!”, showering everyone with gratitude for coming to see her, it’s sweet because you genuinely believe what she’s saying, it builds up to the most emotional point in the night which comes during a 10 minute speech before ballad ‘Liability’, Ella chokes up and tears fill up her eyes as she describes making the song and pouring her heart out, the following performance of the track is overpowering as 10,000 people sing along to every word.
The final segment goes by in a blink as she loads it full of her hits, Lorde launches herself across the stage, her voice not faltering once as she goes from a memorable, joy-filled version of ‘Supercut’ straight into a slightly shortened version ofbreakout single ‘Royals’ before sending thousands of arms into the air with an utterly fantastic renditions of Melodrama standout ‘Perfect Places’ and it’s Pure Heroine counterpart ‘Team’ in which she throws herself into the front row, hugging the loving arms of fans that had been queuing since early morning to see the star.
The set wouldn’t be complete however without standout song of the summer, ‘Green Light’, the pace of the show astounds me because every time you think the crowd has peaked, they find another gear, another level, you’ve seen nothing until you’ve seen the frenzy the song’s chorus creates, everyone jumps and screams “I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it!”, confetti cannons and squeals of joy fill the air.
Watching Lorde grow from shy teenager to a crowd conquering confident woman has been a fantastic journey to witness but no matter how much her live show continues to change, the added costume changes, the extra designs and larger budget, one thing still remains and that’s the connection she consistently makes with her audience, she never sacrifices her artistic vision and feels utterly grateful to be in her position and that’s what makes her and her performances so compelling.
Buzzcut Season (xylophone opening)
Intermission (video interlude)
A World Alone
In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins cover)
Intermission (video interlude)