(Photo credit: Prudence Upton)
“I love playing in Australia because you get it – you guys get it, I can’t hide from you”.
Tonight Lorde’s “Melodrama” tour has made its way to the Sydney Opera House forecourt; there is an air of euphoria percolating. Two big screens project snippets of grainy “found footage” accompanied by Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ and a spoken word passage narrated by Ella Yelich-O’Connor herself.
A neon sign reading “Melodrama” illuminates, and instantaneously the audience are transported into the beautiful, secret world that is Melodrama.
Opening up the set with ‘Homemade Dynamite’ the exuberant crowd sing along to every word, flourishing The Opera House forecourt with their own explosion sounds. Lorde cruises through fan favourites ‘Tennis Court’ ‘Hard Feelings’ and ‘Buzzcut Season’, she even slips in ‘Magnets’, her co-write with Disclosure. Part one of the Melodrama tour ends with the sonically jarring ‘Sober’.
The set is impeccably choreographed. Backed by a drummer and two multi-instrumentalists. There are three (very sparkly!) costume changes. Interchanging backdrops of neon flower arrangements, stars and an astronaut. As well as two dancers that weave themselves expertly between Lorde throughout the show.
Yet Lorde’s performance never once feels contrived. She is a chaotic performer, her limbs fly akimbo and she burns hot with inimitable (and dorky) recklessness.
Part two commences and Lorde makes her way through a mix of Melodrama and Pure Heroine. With ‘The Louvre’, ‘400 Lux’, ‘Ribs’ and ‘Sober II’.
The most affecting moment of the set came with ‘Liability’. The intimate ballad that so perfectly encapsulates the heartache, vulnerability and pure, unapologetic feeling that is Lorde’s Melodrama.
Lorde prefaces the performance by congratulating the audience on the results of the recent same-sex marriage survey, she also busts out a chorus of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ whilst draped in a rainbow flag.
Heartstrings are well and truly pulled when a teary Ella delves into a monologue about loneliness. “This song can be very hard to sing sometimes, It’s about a time in my life when I felt very alone” she tells us, “Never in my life did I think this many people in my life would get me.”
At the close of part two, Lorde pays her thanks to triple j and “makes up” for being too busy to participate in Like A Version by gifting the audience with a “bootleg Like A Version” of Hunter’s & Collectors ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’.
Lorde is a unique and special artist; never has a musician meant as much to me.
The last time I saw her live I was sixteen. Pure Heroine was a formative album for me and so many others my age. It was the first pop record I was exposed to that denounced materialism and found beauty in mundane suburbia and teenage anguish.
Tonight was magic in so many ways. Watching Lorde was like watching a childhood friend. The girl who was once a precocious and introspective teenager has blossomed into a gracious and thoughtful adult.
The show closed on the highest of highs with ‘Green Light’. Before playing, Lorde announces, “This is the crying show and the dancing show. If you’re feeling either of those spectrum of emotions, I need you to give it to me”. As the chorus peaked, green fireworks erupted. It was perfect.