Lorde At Barclay Center, Wednesday, April 4th, 2018, Reviewed
Apparently the brilliant Lorde show I caught at Governors Ball June 2017(here) wasn’t an early trial and error but a blueprint for the tour she is currently performing across the States to less then sold out Arenas. Their loss and absolutely. Melodrama was a great album about a post-teen girl in post break-up mode in New York City getting lost and looking for fun, and she performs songs from both the latest and Pure Heroine.
I arrived late and caught the tail end of Run The Jewels. They are an annoyingly self-satisfied duo who I’ve only seen once before and who sucked that time as well, Killer Mike is one of Atlanta’s finest but with El-P there is a smugness about them that irritates me. The audience liked em but el-O is too mouthy and I don’t like being told how to feel.
Lorde and her dancers and that big empty bin we know from Governors Ball were professional and punctual. She was well on her game last night, well past the first stage where there was a sullenness to her teenage angst, this was full throttle rock star . With a fistful of dancers in a transparent box hovering above her , Lorde grabs her mic and stalks the lip of the stage, waiting for the music to overwhelm her. She joins the dancers for “Ribs,” though as dancers go she’s a great flayer about, put it this way, Kehlani ain’t losing sleep. I’m not convinced the performance art aspect help much. It’s visually arresting but a touch pointless. She sits at a piano for a coupla… actually she didn’t, I stole all of that from last year. I went on to dis Jack Antonoff but he joined Lorde for a terrific cover of St. Vincent’s magnificent “New York” at Barclay’s and was therefore the highlight of the evening. Seeing the two close friends mid stage, sitting cross legged while Jack strummed his guitar was simultaneously inside baseball arrogant and sweetly disarming. They acted like the sort of guys who, if you meet at a party look right through you and you can’t even say mean girls rude, you just don’t exist.
Lorde, who once covered “Swingin Party,” has taken well to success and on stage she is stuck between who she is and who she was. She started crying during “Writer In The Dark” and it was very sad and real, you know she isn’t the sort to fake it. It has been a great and tough coupla years and she looks older and more together but between the exes accumulating and the sales failure (it really is a great album) of her latest, she is in the unenviable position of fighting a lost cause.
If this effects her, and if the presentation is a little faulty, her singing is perfect for what it is, her attitude an intense connection to an imagined audience (at Barclay it was heavy heavy heavy on women), the intensity is kindly, it works from behind weakness to strength and also to a protective oneness, as she travels the stage tagged by her avant-garde dancers.
I liked her fine, it is the fourth time I’ve seen Lorde and I am far from bored, I’ve actually been eyeballing Friday’s gig at the Prudential (where they’ve been forced to use “PlayByPlay” -a free seating website, to get butts in seats -McCartney had to do the same thing last year). I hope, and I assume, this is the continuation of a long career because if we can’t support Lorde as a long term artist we can hardly complain about being stuck with Halsey.