LA to the Moon Tour: A Concert Made in Heaven

During a recent group meeting that I attended, we were asked the question, “If you could have dinner with any three people, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would they be?” I pondered for a few minutes asking myself, who would grant me the most satisfaction by taking the time to share a meal with me? Whose personality, aura, or talent would put me in a state of absolute and pure bliss? The first person that came to mind was Barack Obama. To be able to sit at a table with someone who served as a symbol of hope and change for this country would be beyond awe-inspiring! My second choice was Neal Shusterman, the author of my all time favorite book series, Unwind (if you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out). Anyone who can tell a story that shocks, haunts, or makes you question what you believe in is an outstanding storyteller, and I would love for him to give me advice on how to captivate with my words. I then began to think about the power of words and how much they can influence your life, like how music has the power to change or influence emotions. Which brought me to my third dinner guest, an individual whose music has impacted my life in the greatest way, the one and only, Lana Del Rey (hey that rhymed).

    

I’ll never forget the first time I discovered her music. It was my junior year in high school, on a school night, and I was tuning into my favorite music app at the time called Jango. I was finishing up my homework when I heard the words, “Blue jeans, white shirt, walked into the room you know you made my eyes burn.” It was only the first line of the song, and I was immediately captivated by her haunting voice. I quickly looked down at my phone to figure out her name and to see if I would like any of her other songs, and man on man, did I fall in love! I spent the rest of the night looking up videos of her music on YouTube and stumbled upon gems. Before I knew it, her music became a place of solace whenever I was faced with internal battles during high school. It was a particularly difficult time for me as I struggled with so many feelings of worthlessness and loneliness. I wanted nothing more than for the people around me to see the pain held behind my eyes but that never came. So I would lay in my bed every night, right before I fell asleep staring at the ceiling, as I let Lana’s transcendental voice lead me into a slumber full of good dreams.

For years I made it a goal to see Lana in concert, but they were always too far from where I lived. So when I found out she was coming to Orlando, I nearly freaked and couldn’t believe that the opportunity finally arose! On the night of the concert, I threw on my flirty floral dress because…well…it is a Lana Del Rey concert after all and headed over with so much joy and excitement! When I got to the Amway center, I watched as hundreds of girls like me filed in walking hand in hand with their friends, toting flower crowns, and rocking floral outfits. I would get occasional whiffs of perfumes that smelled like cotton candy, and I couldn’t help but think that there wasn’t a scent that was more fitting. As I sat there waiting, I realized that I was a part of a discourse community, which is basically a group of people with similar interests or values. Although I was surrounded by strangers, I couldn’t help but feel like I was part of a sisterhood. A sisterhood of women who did not allow for their fears, pain or trouble to overcome them.

As Lana walked on stage, I could feel the hot tears forming in my eyes. I felt nothing but genuine joy as she began to sing “13 Beaches” from her latest album Lust for Life. She glided gracefully on the stage with shimmery boots that could be seen for miles and twinkled like the stars above. You could hear people shouting, “We Love you Lana!” And I lost count of how many times the people around me would exclaim, “She’s so cute!” There was one point where she began to play the guitar and one girl in my section screamed out, “Teach me how to play!” Needless to say, I felt like I had found my tribe!

As she sang various songs both old and new, I found myself leaning forward with my hands under my chin like a child awaiting story time. Because that’s just it, Lana is a melodic story teller. The most beautiful part about all of this is that I noticed that many others were doing the same. So many people were leaned forward, drunk on her love and warmth, holding on to her every note. As I mentioned earlier, her music tells a story. From romance, to heartbreaks, to her patriotism, her music paints narratives in the minds of all who listen. But with my active imagination, I use her lyrics to paint my own narrative. For example, whenever I listen to my all-time favorite song from her “West Coast,” I imagine myself strolling on the beach at night, spinning around as she did in the video, while gentle winds blow through my hair. I imagine this to be a representation of myself being free and void of all the things that trouble me.

"Down on the West Coast they got a sayin, If you're not drinkin' then you're not playin, but you've got the music, you've got the music In you, don't you?"

And when I listen to her song “Salvatore,” I imagine myself on a balcony looking out into the beautiful lights of the city, and I look down to see that my lover is looking up at me. I begin to sing to him,

"All the lights in Miami begin to gleam, ruby, blue and green, neon too. Everything looks better from above my king, like aqua marine, ocean’s blue"

During her performance she graced us with so many of her older songs like, “Video Games,” “Blue Jeans,” “Ride,” and “National Anthem.” But the song that impacted me the most was her newest song, “God Bless America- And all the Beautiful Women in it.” She performed this song in reference to the women’s marches that recently took place, and it was evident in that moment that she was a feminist and stood for women’s rights. But the thing that made me hold back tears about this song was that it felt like she was reaching out to all the women and girls who has ever found solace in her music and was saying, “It’s going to be okay.” If it were possible, I’d go back in time to the 16 year old me lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, and I’d play her this song. I would let her know that she was a part of all the beautiful women that Lana is so effortlessly singing to.

"Even when I'm alone I'm not lonely, I hear the sweetest melodies (sweetest melodies)

On the fire escapes of the city, sounds like I am free, It's got me singing

God bless America, and all the beautiful women in it, God bless America, and all the beautiful women in it

May you stand proud and strong like Lady Liberty shining all night long, God bless America"

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