Lana Del Rey showed her fans on the West Coast how to really experience live music, as she concluded her first major North American tour on Friday, May 30th at the Shrine Expo Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. The singer performed a mixture of songs off Born to Die and Paradise, along with two new songs from the upcoming Ultraviolence, which reminded me (and everyone else) just why we fell in love with her in the first place.
Concert Review – Lana Del Rey
Del Rey hadn’t toured North America since Born to Die catapulted her to fame due to a Saturday Night Live performance that set her critics off. Although she proved her artistic capabilities time and time again with both albums, as well as extraordinarily filmed music videos, critics claimed that the songstress’ voice was not up to par during her concerts. This is interesting, as her voice doesn’t differ much from the records live, and after all, fans are aware that Lana Del Rey isn’t just about the sultry, old-school voice.
Lana Del Rey is an aesthetic, sonic experience and fans find creative inspiration through her style, nostalgic mannerisms, old-world charm, and, for me, literary references peppered throughout her songs – from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita to Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, with plenty of Walt Whitman in between. Regardless, the woman can surely sing, and this year’s Coachella, along with her show at the Shrine, stand as testaments to that.
Indie-folk band Father John Misty opened the night while guests mingled inside the hall – a big, open space famous for playing host to many of Los Angeles’ smaller raves.
After their set, Lana Del Rey took the stage and opened with “Cola.” “Body Electric” followed, with vivid images of Marilyn Monroe on the back screen, and when she transitioned into “Blue Jeans,” the entire crowd sang along. Throughout the whole night, the singer was clearly overwhelmed and gratuitous of the fan presence and reminded the crowd just how she felt (just a bit short of her affectionate kisses with fans seen earlier at Coachella).
Del Rey performed two songs from Ultraviolence, her third album which drops June 16th; the first was the haunting, beachy “West Coast” that somehow makes California seem that much better. Ultraviolence is produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, and from what has been released so far, it sounds very, very promising. After performing “Born to Die,” the tune that started it all, she played the title song from her upcoming album.
The visuals that accompanied the music made the whole show engrossing, and during “Carmen” and “Summertime Sadness,” the matching music videos played on the back screen and took fans back to the days when they first discovered the magic of her music. She also performed “Young and Beautiful,” a track featured on last year’s The Great Gatsby, which was a real treat to the audience as the song is not a staple on her setlists.
As the night ended with “Ride” and “National Anthem,” I tried to take in the fact that I had finally seen Lana Del Rey perform after first discovering her three years ago. The show didn’t pass too quickly, although she wasn’t on stage for too long, because the whole experience – with the music, visuals, and voice – seemed to truly stop time. Even though Del Rey just ended this tour, Ultraviolence will be released in a few weeks to grace us with more of the singer’s masterpieces and hopefully, a brand new tour.
Article by Pauline Pechakjian