Lorde Proves She’s All Grown Up with Intimate Performance in NYC

Lorde Proves She’s All Grown Up with Intimate Performance in NYC

The Melodrama singer proved that her opus of a second album makes for an equally powerful live show.

The Melodrama singer proved that her opus of a second album makes for an equally powerful live show.

Text: Ilana Kaplan

After seeing Lorde perform a plethora of songs from her sophomore album Melodrama on Friday night, it proved impossible not to have an adrenaline rush. In fact, I was so high on the feeling of Melodrama, I walked two blocks, tripped and shattered my phone screen. But I didn’t even care. Lorde took us all to church during an intimate performance at The Bowery Ballroom to celebrate the release of Melodrama. As I walked over the Williamsburg bridge back to Brooklyn, it would be an understatement to say I felt invincible after the performance.

Melodrama, as Lorde has previously described, is a narrative based on the events of a house party. The record chronicles the before and after of her breakup with longtime boyfriend James Lowe, and she takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. With Lorde’s massive fanbase, her concerts have mainly been festival dates and stadium tour dates (minus her Pappy & Harriet’s pre-Coachella show). It’s been a long time since Lorde played such a personal New York venue, so SiriusXM delighted her fans with the Lower East Side show before the weekend.

While listeners would generally be keen to hear a massive artist like Lorde’s biggest hits, the crowd was more enamored by the tracks from the new album. Fans were prepared for it to be a religious experience—and one they might not ever encounter again. The record had been out less than 24 hours, and concertgoers was already singing along to all of her new songs.

Clad in a see-through glitter-coated top, Lorde was focused on debuting her new material, but still managed to pepper in a few classic hits (“Royals,” “Ribs,” “Team” and “Buzzcut Season”). But the most enthralling part of the night was watching her play Melodrama in a way that told a story. Not only did Lorde deliver on the music itself, but on her dance moves that will someday be iconic all on their own. While the album details sex, drugs, partying, heartbreak and loneliness, her performance made it all seem poetic. Just like the record, Lorde summed up the teenage experience with nostalgic magic during her live show.

Opening with the slick, explosive “Homemade Dynamite,” Lorde made sure no one would be mourning their teenage years the entire time, but merely revisiting them. Throughout the night it was clear that Jack Antonoff’s production on Melodrama helped with the nostalgic factor. Musing through “The Louvre” and “Supercut,” it was impossible not to think of Jersey hero Bruce Springsteen and how the album could have soundtracked one of John Hughes’s films.

As Lorde progressed through Melodrama, it was revealed that the record was one big anthem for your teenage years (and perfect to dance-cry to while listening). In baring her soul, the 20-year-old singer revealed how she felt like releasing an album was kind of like being a parent in that you hope your fans (like kids) aren’t “assholes.” Lorde used her release day show to give fans an inside look at the diary entries that became songs. Before crooning the piano ballad “Liability,” she explained that she was initially “repelled” by the song, to which she said, “I was thinking everyone’s going to leave me.” She sat down on the stage to perform the melancholic track while the audience sang along with her in unison.

Closing the show with the Robyn-influenced “Green Light,” there wasn’t a body in the 575-person room that wasn’t dancing as she flailed her arms and hair back and forth on the stage, but she had one last surprise for the crowd. She returned to the stage to sing an operatic, a cappella version of “Writer In The Dark,”, which made Lorde’s vocals sound like cries. It was the perfect conclusion to the 13-track set: a bittersweet ending, both introspective and hopeful.

As Lorde sang at the downtown venue, the audience relived the love heartbreak, loneliness and parties they experienced in their formative years along with Lorde. Her performance showed a new confidence and sense of self-awareness that Pure Heroine hadn’t yet achieved. Listening to Melodrama live was a coming of age experience whether you were 27 or 17, and that’s what made the show one of a kind.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Musician Lorde performs onstage in celebration of the release of her new album "Melodrama" for SiriusXM at Bowery Ballroom on June 16, 2017 in New York City. Performance airs live on SiriusXM's Alt Nation channel. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
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photos courtesy of Dimitrios Kambouris

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