On April 14, I attended a concert tour five years in the making: the Melodrama World Tour. Beginning in September 2017, Lorde kicked off the first of four legs of her world tour for her sophomore album, Melodrama. The Kiwi songstress put on an incredible, visually stunning show that exceeded all already-high expectations for an unforgettable performance.
Performing all but two or three songs from her official discography as well as covers of songs like Frank Ocean’s “Solo,” there was an opportunity for everyone to sing out their favorite Lorde song live in concert. That being said, it was an incredibly full-circle experience to watch deep cuts from her debut album, Pure Heroine, from 2013 be performed after all this time. Songs like “Ribs” and “Buzzcut Season” spoke to and impacted me when I was in high school regarding trying to come to terms with getting older and the change that comes with that. To then hear them all these years later having matured and gained so many new experiences, it was incredibly emotional and reflective to think back on the songs that had stayed the same while I had changed so much. Needless to say, I was on the verge of tears (if not crying) from the first beat of the very first song.
That element of growth is also a testament to the personal relatability of Lorde as an artist and entertainer. The evolution of her music between albums speaks for itself, with songs like “400 Lux” about enjoying all the details of a first love versus “Hard Feelings/Loveless” about coming to terms with and finding self-love after heartbreak. Lorde’s music grows along with her audience and witnessing the transitions between eras and times in peoples’ lives was incredible, moving forward and backward from teenager to adulthood surrounded by people who have felt that same thing as you, including Lorde herself.
With that development came the upping of production for the concert’s set design, musical arrangements and visuals. The stage itself simply featured a box resembling a shipping crate with windows between the slats made of bars of neon lights and a screen with visual interludes split into five like a fan. To my delight, dancers moved through the box throughout the set with beautifully choreographed interpretive-esque dance, and with certain songs, the box lifted off of the stage and hung suspended in the air with the dancers still inside. It made for a breathtaking, captivatingly beautiful expression to accompany the already emotionally charged music. The visual components on screen featured video clips of a woman swimming, a children’s choir and Lorde riding in the backseat of a taxi. All the while, soft-toned spotlights were synced with the rhythm of the band to create a colorful aura around the stage in the smoke-filled arena. For the quieter, slower, more vulnerable songs when Lorde took a seat, the box was deconstructed and left behind were just the neon rods arranged to resemble a pile of colorful twigs in an aerial shot of the performance. The time and planning that went into the preparation for such a well thought out visual experience was unbelievable and makes me hopeful for what is to come next following such professionalism and the execution of such a succinct vision so early into Lorde’s career.
The power of her voice was an element that left me pleasantly surprised. The strength of her vocals left me shocked, moved and thoroughly impressed. There was a moment where she replaced a verse of “Writer in the Dark” with head voice vocalizations that brought me to tears. She looked absolutely stunning with her choice of makeup that resembled a face-painting in gold-leaf and costumes that looked positively ethereal backlit by the colorful stage lights behind her. All of these elements combined for just an overwhelmingly surreal moment of truly enjoying her art and talent.
It was unreal to watch how much passion she put into every single song in the set, regardless of how much she had put in for the one just before it. There were points toward the end where there would be so much energy and fervor in the performance of “Perfect Places” or “Green Light” complete with jumping up and down and confetti flying that would indicate, by all other standards, that the concert was over. Yet, there always proceeded to be another song right after in the line-up. There was a positive magnetism to watching Lorde throw herself into a performance, so much so that she even had to comment on it. She looked into the crowd on multiple occasions saying, “There is such an incredible vibe in here tonight! Now I know why they call you Hotlanta. What a privilege to spend a Saturday night, the best night for a dance, with you.” There was an undeniable genuineness and love toward the audience that was being equally reciprocated as she poured her heart into every second of the 90+ minute show.
Lorde demonstrated an artistry, an understanding of self and a passion for performance that was unparalleled for an artist only having just released their second album. Ultimately, this was the best spur of the moment ticket purchase I’ve ever made because with it came the unforgettable experience of belting out Lorde with Lorde and reliving the memories that I made to her music.
See tickets for the European leg of her tour here!
Listen to her newest album Melodrama here!