Welcome to the world of Lorde in 2017. By now, there’s a growing chance nothing on Melodrama (out June 16 on Republic) matches the chart success of her No. 1 single “Royals,” or her follow-up top ten hit “Team.”
“Green Light” has only barely made it into the top 20, but its brash sonic adventures and absolutely jubilant reception have already made it a different sort of triumph. The New York City crowd was brought to hands-in-the-air catharsis by the set closer, already well within the palm of Lorde’s hand with one of the most expertly curated pop shows you'll see this year.
For a good chunk of the 75-minute set, the 20-year-old star was joined by her good friend Jack Antonoff, who executive produced Melodrama, much of it in his home studio in New York.
Festival crowds know surprise guests are often not-too-surprising in their dime-a-dozen-ness, but watching Lorde and Antonoff giddily tinker with their creations in real time (hours after his band Bleachers played the same spot on its record release day) felt about as intimate as the Gov Ball main stage can.
For some songs, they sat side-by-side at the piano and quipped back and forth -- mostly about being awkward hermits who obsess over music. For others, Antonoff unassumingly played guitar sidestage, a safe distance from Lorde’s spectacle.
And what a spectacle it was. Much of the stage was occupied by a see-through rectangular prism, containing dancers (and sometimes Lorde herself) swaying in rhythm as the structure seized up and down atop a pair of moving support beams.
It was a weird little world-within-a-world for Lorde and friends, not unlike the escapism she evoked with her Billboard Music Awards performance last month. That one had her singing “Green Light” in an ordinary-looking karaoke room, which only revealed itself to be part of the T-Mobile Arena stage once the camera panned out at song’s end. It was arguably the most memorable artistic statement at the Las Vegas ceremony, and last night, Lorde made a strong claim for the same crown.
Below, watch Lorde perform her Melodrama track “Perfect Places” live for the first time (via Stereogum). Also, find her set list (via Setlist.fm).
Magnets (Disclosure cover)
Sober II (Melodrama)
Hang With Me (Robyn cover)