Guess who caught the first concert of Lorde’s world tour? I had a great spot and a lot of feelings about the tour, so give this a read for some great pictures of our favourite witch and some details about the tour.
There will be spoilers for the setlist and the performance, if you’d rather go in blind (as I do), come back here after you see her! Although, I have a feeling a few things will change…
Lorde’s flawless 1.5 hour setlist was split up into 3 sections, each flowed into the next, perfectly encapsulating the three personas of Lorde. These sections were complimented by a support act and an encore.
Support Act: Khalid
I hadn’t listened to Khalid before the tour – I should have! He was fantastic. His voice is amazing, he’s the singer/songwriter we deserve. The terribly relatable Young Dumb & Broke had everyone singing back at him. Khalid definitely gets a crowd going. He danced away like he was having the best time of his life, with this genuine smile on his face. His dancing is also incredible – worthy of comparison to Lorde’s witchy swaying. The only downside to Khalid’s performance was his stage setup, the lights were way too bright and I could hardly see anything when they were flashing right in my eyes. Pretty, but painful.
Magnets was an odd one to kick it off with, but I have a theory about this that I will mention later. I’m glad she did it though, as it’s one of the songs I didn’t think I’d get a chance to see live. Magnet’s beat gave Lorde the opportunity to throw that jumpy dancing from her Pure Heroine era at us, something I was worried she’d lost to a change in her music’s pace.
I didn’t expect Tennis Court to be next, but it got the crowd ready for the show. Seconds in and we’re all screaming YEAH back at her. Since we didn’t get a tour over here with Pure Heroine, I was glad to hear this one.
Hard Feelings was so good to hear completely separate from Loveless, as it’s such a good song in its own right. “But I still remember everything, how we’d drift buying groceries, how you’d dance for me” is one of her best closing lines, and we know she does closing lines best. It says so much in so little: it’s these two unrelated, fuzzy memories that sum up the entirety of a lost relationship so accurately in her head.
I’m not lying, this is what actually happened for Buzzcut Season. Lorde crouched on the floor, brought out a glockenspiel and played the opening on it, as the music began to grow and take over for her. Only Lorde would do this, and only she would be met with screams and cheers for doing so. Aside from that, it was a really good song choice because yeah, you know what, right about now I’m sick of all the men on the news, I’m sick of a world that wants us to deal with our less-than-perfect mental health, because that’s just how it is right now. It’s in.
Sober lifted the mood without giving us whiplash – it was a great one to get us dancing again, to end her first section on a high. We knew the story by heart and we let her know it. As you can tell by Lorde’s outfit, this section was based on her gothy era. I think Sober perfectly encapsulates the transition to her next era: it’s still that raspy voice, she’s young and she’s uncertain, but the adult themes in the song tell us that she is growing up, no matter how scary that feels.
The Louvre, undeniably my favourite song from Melodrama, was supposed to be my favourite live. It wasn’t. It was still fantastic, but it feels like such a deep and personal song, that something was lost on stage. The single disappointment of the night, and not a big one at that.
Everyone’s favourite at Lorde gigs is Ribs. I remember seeing a picture when I was sixteen and had just discovered Lorde, it was a crowd with their lights in the air, swaying to Ribs, and I dreamed someone would take me there. Someone did. It was soft and otherworldly, everything I’d hoped. It took me back to being sixteen, and how it’s so scary getting old, how some things I could give some people will never be enough.
Lorde did not tone down the emotional selection at this point, as it was followed up
by Liability, which only reminded me how much her vocals have improved. It sounded just like it did the first time I heard it after its release – except this time I wasn’t sat on the bathroom floor of my university accommodation, helplessly in love with the song. She was sat in front of me, dressed in her puffy white Victorian gown, helping me to fall helplessly back in love with the song. Liability’s Reprise was no less fantastic, with Lorde rising in a red light as she hissed the lyrics to us.
It’s a well-documented fact that A World Alone is my all-time favourite song. I refused to believe Lorde would sing this – it wasn’t a big one at the festivals, I always feel like it’s underappreciated, overshadowed by the somewhat similar but more popular Ribs. There was something about it that was perfect for this show. Lorde kept saying “I can’t believe we’re all here together” and it was all “we”. A World Alone worked for this reason – this concert was our world. Some 3-and-a-half-thousand of us, along with Lorde, dancing is this enclosed world alone together.
Lorde followed this with a cover of Phil Collin’s In The Air Tonight. It was probably a good choice because I needed to calm down after crying so much at A World Alone. She has performed this on Radio 1’s Live Lounge, so check it out.
Jack Antonoff’s influence as a co-writer and producer is perhaps most evident in Supercut – it’s pop, it’s dance-y, dare I say it, it’s a bit Taylor Swift. However, it still has that electric Lorde feeling, live even more so. It felt like the beginning of her new era: she wore an outfit like the Green Light video, the Melodrama sign lit pink, she was over feeling like a Liability. She was her new self.
Royals is definitely not my favourite Lorde song. I remember hearing it for the first time in my mum’s car, and deciding I didn’t like it at all. For a reason unknown to me (perhaps fate intervened), I listened to all of Pure Heroine via a Spotify free trial, and I fell in love. Seeing Royals live felt like listening to Lorde had been leading to this moment, and it was pretty great.
Then we went to Perfect Places. It’s the ultimate gig song – celebrating our young, ashamed selves, who’ll take any opportunity to feel good, even for a short time. Her raspy voice closed the song, and watching Lorde drop the f-word was raw, vulnerable and soft. There’s this fantastic juxtaposition between the eclectic chorus and the almost sad ending, because being in this perfect place was so short lived.
Team works when it follows Perfect Places. It’s about the little perfect imperfect places that we live, with our imperfect perfect crowd of friends, doing perfect imperfect things. Her vocals were again, dramatically better than the live performances around Pure Heroine’s time. It was a great penultimate choice, to remind us who she was, before she presents who she is now.
Which brings us to Green Light. I was not expecting the concert to end on this one, because it’s her biggest song right now, it took ending on a high to a new level. Of course, Lorde explained why this was. She said that Green Light was the song she needed to write after Liability, it was about learning to let go and being content with that. Sadly, it was time to let go of Lorde.
She wasn’t quite done. Lorde stood quietly after a piano was brought out, and played a gentle melody as she sang Loveless. It was this brilliant reminder that Lorde is a part of our generation, singing our stories back to us. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night.
Lorde’s First outfit was a double split black dress a sheer mesh catsuit underneath. There were tiny moons on the mesh, giving her this witchy, celestial vibe. It was very Pure Heroine.
Her second choice was, of course, a puffy Victorian number, much like her SNL performance of Liability. She became this ethereal white witch who sang away about rejection and love and growing up.
For the show’s final section, Lorde entered in a subtly sparkly pink jumpsuit. The colour contrasted perfectly with the Melodrama sign as it was illuminated green, and of course it all reminded us of Green Light. It was totally different to her other outfits, it was the new her.
Any avid follower of Lorde will know that before Liability, she sits down to do a speech to the audience. She really enjoyed talking to the audience – each section was separated by a poem, and she didn’t hesitate to speak to us between songs. Lorde talked about love and loss, how she believes that everyone will leave her, because no one can handle the frantic thinking that comes with being so creative. But she said something that was personal and pertinent; after the Manchester Attack in May, Lorde tweeted the above. She said that she knew that some of the crowd would have been in attendance when it happened. She chose not to use graphic language, but called it something that perfectly explained it: “when someone decided to betray the trust you put in us as artists, to keep you safe and make you happy”. She apologised that the trust between us could not be as strong as it once was. It was heartfelt, gentle and important, as the elephant in the room almost scared me away from attending that concert. In a previous post, I talked about why Homemade Dynamite’s release was delayed. I believe she chose not to perform it for the same reason. If you attend another concert, she might sing the remix of her latest single, with Khalid since he’s there. If this was a decision, I think it was a respectful one. We didn’t ‘miss out on a great performance’, it was only rightfully replaced. It’s replacement may have been Magnets, as it was a strange song choice, but I’d like to believe it was A World Alone, because that song made me feel safe.
I was disappointed in Lorde’s Merch. It was all very simple, and it didn’t feel very her. There were t-shirts and sweatshirts, with a few different designs. There were two different ones for Perfect Places, one for Supercut, one for The Louvre and the Europe Dance design. None of the designs based on the songs were very pretty – they weren’t wearable, especially not The Louvre. Supercut’s design looked like Coca-Cola. Sorry. However, the Europe Dance sweatshirt was lovely, it had a gorgeous flower pattern on the back, with a small ‘M’ on the front and ‘I know this story by heart’ written beneath. It was nice, but not nice enough to queue for!
This concert was at the Manchester 02 Apollo. I’ve been to a concert there once before, and we had an awful spot. This time, we got there an hour before the concert and ended up right at the front, near people who’d been queuing since 10 in the morning. Big tip for you – if you’re on 02’s mobile network and you’re seeing a concert here, you and up to 3 friends can go in the 02 Priority Queue and get in first. Anyway, it’s a great arena if you’re down at the front, not so good if you’re far back. The floor is slanted and the stage is quite high, so it’s way easier to see than Manchester Academy. You also have the option to sit in the balcony, which is a calmer way to watch a concert. You get a great view, and there’s no sweating and pushing, so it’s a good alternative if you have anxiety in spaces like concerts.
I digress a lot – in short, it was otherworldly. Buy tickets!