Lorde’s “Melodrama” World Tour Review


Gabe Davis

Lorde is delicately lifted across stage by talented dancers that visually aid her storytelling.

Almost four years after the release of “Pure Heroine,” Lorde unveiled her long-awaited sophomore album “Melodrama.” It distinguishes itself from “Pure Heroine” in several ways. Thematically, Lorde turned away from teenage life and suburbia to explore adulthood, fame and heartbreak. Re-imagining her aesthetic, she incorporated more live instruments and created upbeat pop vocalizations that separated themselves from her earlier electronic, moody and dramatic sound.

Walking into Chaifitz Arena, I was worried about how Lorde would preserve the distinctive intimacy and connection that were present in her smaller-scale 2014 tour. However, the excitement as the first few beats of “Sober” played was undeniable; the lights of the stadium went out to bring attention to the blue strobes onstage. Stepping out in all black, the signature style of her grunge-inspired “Pure Heroine” era, she performed several songs from her first album. Songs were accompanied by well-timed costume changes and artistic film on large screens behind her while dancers twirled and bent both on stage and in a large glass box that tilted and moved above the stage.

Lorde’s Pure Heroine album cover, reflecting its unique tracklist and production techniques well. Pure Heroine offers nothing but white lettering on a black background complementing its darker and more vocally concentrated production.

After capturing the attention of crowds with a powerful energy and identity, Lorde then entered the glass box formerly occupied only by her dancers and in a dramatic moment between songs added a silver shirt and matching skirt to her outfit over the minimalistic black outfit she originally walked out in. When she stepped out, the audience again cheered as she craftily introduced the “Melodrama” phase of the concert in a change that signified the evolution of her art. It was after this she went on to perform “The Louvre” and “Hard Feelings.”

Not neglecting to acknowledge her audience, Lorde brought out a song she hadn’t performed since 2014. “Yellow Flicker Beat,” written originally forThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I,” responds to tyranny and oppression. Lorde shared that she wanted to include this song for her American followers because of the current political climate.

Taking a break from the nonstop excitement and enthusiasm Lorde took on a more serious role, singing “Writer in the Dark,” a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Solo” and her own “Liability.” Each offered a mellow interpretation of relationships and Lorde made sure the stage matched the mood. Ushering out props, Lorde sat on the edge of the stage and brought attention to her vocal delivery alone. In between songs she talked about personal reflections on loneliness and superficiality that made even audience members sitting outside of the floor feel part of an intimate experience.

As the glass box rose back up from the stage and dancers returned from the wings, Lorde changed clothes again, this time into a bright pink outfit. She began lines from “Sober II” and welcomed the third and final phase of the concert that brought her to the most recent of her narratives. She ended her set with “Green Light” and asked audience members to dance the hardest to this song, to let go of people they were holding on to, and put away their phones. At the close of the song, green lights from the stage filled the arena and star-shaped confetti was released which read “Melodrama forever.”  

21-year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor, or Lorde, walks into the crowd to sing directly to the audience from the barricade. Lorde held hands with several fans during her final song “Team.” “Dancing around the lies we tell, dancing around big eyes as well,” Lorde sang.

Lorde exited the stage and some of the audience filed out of the arena. At this point, floor ticket-holders were permitted to move up towards the barricade. It was there I stood when Lorde returned to the loud applause and cheering of fans and went into “Loveless,” again with no aid from dancers, screens, or floating boxes. She danced carelessly and sang an outtake from Melodrama titled “Precious Metals,” which has yet to be formally released. During “Team,” the final song of the encore, Lorde elicited excited screams from the audience by running off stage and leaning up against the barricade, singing directly to fans, smiling, and reaching out to hold hands with the audience.

Lorde was successful in turning an arena into a home. Her sporadic and unpredictable dancing made occasional appearances in between choreographed numbers and brought on a relief I didn’t know that I needed. Warding off of the manufactured perfectionism that’s easy to succumb to as a popular artist, Lorde remains the New Zealand native dedicated to songwriting, dogs and the ocean that longtime fans have always known.

The audience particularly added to the overall experience. I was shocked that at no point in the show was I shoved or pushed as I have been in every other concert I’ve been to. Fellow fans of Lorde were also quick to hand out compliments to strangers, and take pictures for them and their friends. For anyone given the opportunity to attend a Lorde concert in the future, I’d encourage them to go with the full belief they would find a welcome atmosphere and a cathartic, mesmerizing performance.

The Parkway West Pathfinder rates the “Melodrama” concert a 10/10.