Published on theMusic.com.au, Nov 2017
Pic by Brandon Ward
Adoring shrieks and fans screaming the lyrics to Homemade Dynamite overpowered Lorde‘s voice as the open-air venue filled with smoke and a red hue for a theatrical yet down to earth intro from the pop superstar.
“GO THE KIWIS!” grunted a middle-aged male in a deckchair on the grassy banks like he was cheering on his favourite player on the Melodrama world tour.
Lorde’s trademark dance moves quickly surfaced in Disclosure’s Magnets as she bounced from one side of the stage to the other, and when the chorus dropped in Tennis Court, the punters on the deck up front returned the energy. “Holy shit, there’s a lot of you,” she said, grinning ear to ear under a fluorescent Melodrama neon sign.
The minimalist production and few supporting musicians (which ranged from one to three members throughout the evening) were used to great effect, with Lorde’s haunting and diverse voice carrying the night while two dancers weaved powerful visual representations of the music on the spacious stage.
The full effect of the dancers was felt during the dramatic affair that was Sober, during which the New Zealand talent kicked things up a notch, dishing out bursts of aggressive vocals between ’80s synth lines and an intimidating beat.
The nostalgic tone continued with a reflective and thought-provoking pre-recorded poem beaming over the PA, a well-placed bridge that transitioned into the guitar-driven The Louvre. The change of pace proved that, although Lorde’s voice pairs nicely with electronic elements alone, it’s with some clean chords that her emotional melodies truly hit the mark.
A similar arrangement in piano ballad Liability reinforced this, with Lorde, illuminated by several thousand phone lights, pouring her heart out.
“You gonna sing this one with me, Perth?” Lorde said in a playful tone over the intro beat of Royals. Even old mate in the deckchair was on board, proudly declaring, “I’ve heard this one!”
The megahit highlighted one major flaw in the set, being an overuse of vocal sampling that, while helping replicate the sound on the record, seemed a lost opportunity to employ backing vocalists to truly elevate the vocal melodies and dynamics to the next level, which is something the singer has done on other dates on the album tour to great effect.
With that said, Lorde well and truly earned the title of one of the year’s best shows in just over an hour, transporting those in attendance to another word with the epic chorus of Perfect Places before rounding out the evening with Team, Green Light and Loveless – the trio proving an uplifting and invigorating way to close the night.