After dates in April were rescheduled due to illness, it seemed Lorde didn’t wish to delay her show a moment longer. The three-month-long-extra-wait wasn’t prolonged in the slightest, as Lorde assuredly strode toward centre stage, obediently in accordance with her scheduled arrival time; and momentarily after Daft Punk’s joyous Doin’ It Right played over the Festival Hall’s sound system, priming the audience for further thrills ahead.
An Instagram conscious crowd fringed the teen’s entrance, attempting to capture her mystique with smartphones strained high. She opened with Glory and Gore, as her features were erased in the stark of a single spotlight, bar her cheekbones carved out with shadow. Against a dark curtain, her ghostly pallor recreated the black and white of Pure Heroine’s album art. The vision’s simplicity indicated the show wasn’t about to rely on dazzling displays but real talent instead.
By the second number, Biting Down, the curtain had lifted to reveal an ornately trimmed screen, in three parts. It framed Lorde and her two musicians into a neat composition. Yet it was unneeded fluff. Lorde could’ve confidently commanded our attention had she been light bulb lit on a stage without props. It seems old hat to mention her tender age, but the authority she delivered was truly beyond her 17 years.
Lorde’s anti-typical-pop-star-persona was in force, considering her choice of apparel. She wore extremely wide cut pants that were the most distinctive piece in an ensemble more likely worn by a jaded and weary art critic. Yet evidence of her youth was in the way she moved. One of Lorde’s most noticeable performance traits is her thrashing stage presence. Her body jerked with every smash and pound of her synthesised production. In moments of strobe lit seizure, it made for a spectacle in itself, as her head of curls took on an athletic life of its own.
The majority of Lorde’s crowd interaction was delivered via “thank yous” and “I’m-so-happy-to-be-heres”, until later in the set, before singing Ribs, she empathised with the audience in a moment of being relatable. As the ambiance of the song’s opening synths soared in heavenly arcs, Lorde explained Ribs was about the fear of growing up, a fear that she has surely dealt with, in amassing such fame induced responsibility, in a very short time. “You know what it feels like to be running from getting old, and so this song’s for you”, the old souled teen said, before executing a performance that proved Ribs to be her best song on and off the record.
Lorde’s set-list was acceptably predictable, considering the one studio album to her name. Breakaways from Pure Heroine were in the form of two covers, Swingin’ Party by The Replacements and Easy by Son Lux, as well as Bravado from The Love Club EP. Songs that would unsurprisingly garner obvious respect, like Tennis Court and the colossal Royals, didn’t amass fever too high in contrast to the rest of the non-single material performed. This was obviously an audience well versed in her collection; the sing-along seemed to stretch from beginning to end.
She concluded with Team and A World Alone, in a billowing cloak of gold lamé. A fitting choice of colour, considering her victorious killing on stage that vocally added dynamism to her recorded sound. In the final verse of A World Alone she sang, “people are talking, people are talking… Let ‘em talk”. Seeing Lorde on stage gives you plenty of reason to talk of her further, yet strictly within a glowing gamut.
In her final seconds, right before disappearing, she bowed as her curls spilled forward. There was no need for the jarring wait for an encore to ruin the momentous swing of her concert. She had already given everything she had.