A cold can’t stop Lorde from giving her fans what they want
New Zealand super star Lorde gloriously returned to pop this year with her excellent sophomore album Melodrama and one of the best singles of the year, ‘Green Light’. On Wednesday night she visited the Netherlands again, over three years after her show in Utrecht, promoting debut record Pure Heroine. This time Tilburg had the honour of welcoming Lorde in their sold out concert venue, 013. She came on stage, broadcasted the boom boom boom boom and made us all dance to it.
Lorde’s support act was American teen star Khalid, who, according to the number of recent streams on Spotify, is actually hotter at the moment than the main act of the night. The audience did sing along to his biggest hits so far, ‘Location’ and ‘Young Dumb & Broke’ which he of course saved for last. His impressive debut American Teen full of slick R&B offered enough material to entertain for 45 minutes and his happy stage presence and slick dance moves are fun to watch. It won’t be long until he sells out his own tours.
Lorde opened her show with the explosive ‘Homemade Dynamite’, immediately showcasing her expressive dance moves. She brought a band consisting of three musicians and two dancers with her and her show is easily bigger than her previous one, with some stage props, costume changes and a TV screen with video interludes and recorded monologues. As a performer, Lorde seems slightly more polished this time around, performing some pieces of actual choreography while looking more styled. There is still that endearing gap between the confident pop star you can’t take your eyes off and the cute girl with the Kiwi accent that speaks to her audience in between the songs. The interaction between her and the fans and her passion on stage seem genuine, even when her lengthy monologue before the goosebump inducing rendition of piano ballad ‘Liability’ ends in predictable stuff like ‘you’re all perfect and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise’. The fans don’t seem to mind as they cheer for her every sentence and passionate dance move.
Vocally Lorde was not her best tonight as she clearly had a cold (at one point she apologizes for being very un-pop star like and having to blow her nose on stage). Later on she ordered herself some whiskey from the stage to smoothen her vocals. Smart move, sister! During the tracks with the more challenging choruses, like the hit ‘Team’ or ‘Buzzcut Season’, she needed the backing track vocals to recreate the impact of the studio versions. Although the dancers did a great job, it might have been a better investment for Lorde to have actual backing vocalists on stage, to give her music more body live. A little too often the tracks are almost identical to the studio versions as Ella’s vocal kind of blend in with the backing track.
When Lorde did things on her own vocally though, she never failed. Her deep and dark tone of voice works perfectly with her moody brand of pop with electronic influences. As a songwriter however, Lorde impressed even more tonight. Looking at this setlist, it is hard to believe she has such an incredible back catologue at the age of 20. From the mighty infectious ‘Sober’ and the deeper than deep bass of ‘The Louvre’ to Disclosure collaboration ‘Magnets’ and a bold ‘Lordified’ cover of ‘In The Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins, her setlist is flawless with tune after tune building up to a grande finale with upbeat singles ‘Team’ and the undeniable chorus of ‘Perfect Places’. Of course a punchy rendition of the hit that started everything for her, ‘Royals’, was sung by every single person in the venue, but the absolute highlight of the night was a truly euphoric performance of ‘Green Light’ that made everyone jump until the confetti rained down on us.
Lorde might not be the most powerful vocalist without her backing track, but at the same time she has got one of the most unique, distinct voices in the industry today and she puts it to good use live. Although her performance, both her charisma and the whole production, grew to proper pop star proportions, she still comes across more relatable and genuine on stage than most. Give the girl one or two backing singers and maybe a slightly bigger band and her unchallenged, brilliant pop songs will come to live during her shows setting even more.