Reviewed on Friday July 11

Good God – this girl knows how to put on a show.

Following Lorde’s recent bout of ill health (and the fact I’d been given a head’s up earlier that day not to expect anything amazing from her), I arrived at the Hordern with fairly standard expectations. But after about ten minutes, I defy anyone in that tightly packed, booze-dappled crowd not to have been completely amazed at the talent and showmanship on display.

The majority of the set seemed fresh, brought to vivid life on a very stripped-back stage; just Lorde, and two expressionless guys on drums and synth dressed all in white. I kept expecting them to break into ‘Future Sailors’ from The Mighty Boosh.

While ‘Royals’ was clearly the favourite of the night, my money goes to ‘Buzzcut Season’ and ‘Swingin’ Party’. They’re hardly remarkable on record, but live they are a lesson in cultural sadness that would be right at home alongside anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

There is something almost hypnotic in watching Lorde. Her dancing is both beautiful and surreal as she jerks across stage like a marionette with tangled strings, and her hair could almost justify a review of its own (with every toss of it over her shoulder, the crowd went batshit crazy). Her audience was clearly going to enjoy the night no matter what she did, and although some performers may have taken that as their cue to just coast through the night, Lorde threw herself into every song and engaged with the crowd after each. Towards the end and somewhat in lieu of an encore, she took a few minutes to speak to those thousands of fans as a preamble to ‘Ribs’.

“Funny how some things suddenly make you feel like an adult, and that’s a cool thing. So strange and scary. Does that mean you have to be an adult all the time? ’Cause that’s a terrifying prospect for me. And it’s still something that keeps me up. But the thing is, Sydney, I’m not as scared as I used to be. Because it means I get you. Thank you.”

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