Lorde Rallies for Secret Hollywood Hills Concert Following Flu-Ridden VMAs Performance

Lorde, Iheartradio secret sessions 2017
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Lorde performs during the iHeartRadio Secret Sessions by AT&T at the magical Houdini Estate on Aug. 29, 2017 in Los Angeles.

The concert was a Secret Sound Session hosted by AT&T and iHeartRadio at the Houdini Estate in Laurel Canyon.

Wednesday evening, Lorde followed up her Video Music Awards performance from Sunday -- where she did not sing due to the flu but danced her way through a remix of her single “Homemade Dynamite” -- with a secret Los Angeles concert hosted by AT&T and iHeartRadio at the Houdini Estate in Laurel Canyon. And though she was still a bit under the weather, the 20-year-old New Zealand native rallied flawlessly to deliver an intimate outdoor performance set against the backdrop of sunset.

“She’s definitely still sick but she’s powering through,” said Vice President of AT&T’s Creator Lab, Karyn Spencer. “She did an amazing job this afternoon with meet and greets. We’ve got contest winners here and she really interacted with them, she even brought them gifts.”

As the singer’s 7 p.m. set approached, the Houdini Estate became awash with palpable excitement. Fans (who had been shuttled to the secret location), crowded the verdant lower garden, jockeying for prime position in front of an ornate, live orchestral setup. Above the stage on tiered patio decorated with creeping ivy, coils of fairy lights and a smattering of emerald green couches, bartenders served specialty cocktails to former Vine stars Gabriel Gundacker, Victor Pope Jr., Kenny Knox, Miel Bredouw, Mikaela Long, Matt King and VIP IHeartRadio contest winners.

“Oh my Lorde!,” one winner exclaimed as the singer -- who looked impeccable in a flowing cream bell-sleeve top and matching silk pants -- finally took the stage. Fittingly, the 20-year-old opened with “Homemade Dynamite,” the third single from her critically-acclaimed sophomore album, Melodrama. The audience’s immediate, impassioned reaction indicated that those who’d tuned into the VMAs hoping to see Lorde singing in real-time, were finally satisfied. Though she appeared fresh-faced and well-rested, the eccentric chanteuse did show some signs of fatigue as the night progressed. Mid-way through the performance, her enthusiastic dance routine was replaced by a fold-out chair, where she perched to engage fans in conversation.

“I feel everything so deeply,” she confessed in a surprisingly personal moment near the end of the 60-minute set. “That’s what Melodrama is about, the depth of feeling,” she continued as the crowd cheered in support. “I wrote a song about it. I wrote the song in Los Angeles in a beautiful studio that is quite similar to this place. Ever since I wrote that song it has been like a suit of armor... It’s a very strange feeling when you feel like you’re too much. Like no one can ever love you because you’re too much. Never feel like you’re too much,” she finished before launching into a soulful rendition of “Liability.”

As the stage light metamorphosed eerily from purple to blue, there was a sense that the audience had willingly stepped into vulnerable space right along with Lorde. That feeling was only increased when she followed “Liability” by launching straight into “Perfect Places,” a euphoric yet yearning mid-tempo ballad that is Melodrama's the closing number. Yet as the final chords rang across the darkened garden, Lorde proved her performative prowess by suddenly shifting the mood yet again. “This is the last song,” she told the audience and those live streaming the show. “I hope you can dance to it with us, even if you’re driving home from work... which I hope you aren’t.” On cue, the lights shifted once again -- this time from blue to green as the opening notes of “Green Light” floated across the venue.

Lorde’s performance was part of a series of Secret Sound Session? concerts hosted by AT&T and iHeartRadio, which are intended to raise awareness of AT&T’s new positioning as a viable media franchise. The former’s presence was certainly felt: At the bar there were branded cocktail stirrers and AT&T emblazoned napkins; the seating areas were decorated with trendy crystals etched with the company logo, even an ivy-framed space designated for photos saw the AT&T logo treatment.

“AT&T and iHeart have a partnership this year where we bring unique experiences to fans," Spencer shared. “Lorde is a perfect fit because she’s someone who has built her career on her own terms and AT&T is bringing entertainment to people on their own terms. We’re pivoting toward becoming a media and entertainment company and it’s events like this that really drive home the message that we’re more than just a phone company now.”

Set List:

"Homemade Dynamite"
"Hard Feelings"
"Buzzcut Season"
"Sober 2 (Melodrama)"
"Writer in the Dark"
"The Louvre"
"Perfect Places"
"Green Light"

MTV Video Music Awards 2017


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