"And we'll never be royals."
That was the first line of the hook that changed everything for 20 year old pop singer Lorde
. Once that catapulted her career, landing radio play just about everywhere, the next move was obvious: touring. Lorde was a mysterious artist from New Zealand who created her own world of darkness and mystery, and with hopes of breaking down that wall of elusiveness, we watched her live shows. We thought maybe we'd see something that we couldn't hear in the music - a glimpse of her personal side, anything. Instead, we got nothing but the singer along with one or two other musicians, dressed in head-to-toe black, face covered with hair, and...that's pretty much it. It was a simple show, which was cool because she was young and she made minimalism her thing. But we knew that couldn't last forever once she grew up, especially after hearing just how different her latest single, "Green Light," was.
Lorde hadn't played a show in about two and a half years after her run with Pure Heroin
ended. She took her time to be a teenager and to carefully write her sophomore album in hiding (and in a dingy New York diner
). We're glad that she took this time because she came back more mature than ever.
It was at Weekend 2 of Coachella where I'd be seeing Lorde live in the flesh for the very first time. I knew she was taking a different direction with her music, but I still had no idea of what to expect. She arrived onstage in Adidas Superstars and a glittery jumpsuit - it was black like her Pure Heroin
outfits, but something about it was different...Less "goth." Shots of the singer were aired on the jumbotron, they were live but filmed in a more dramatic way as she sung directly into the camera. There was a giant box peering over the stage where dancers moved around inside, acting out different scenes to go with each song, a bit reminiscent to Sia's live show. Later on, Lorde would join them in the box.
Lorde debuted a few new songs off of her upcoming LP, Melodrama,
like "Sober" and "Homemade Dynamite," which evoked different emotions as well. They were emotionally heavy but made you feel like you were dancing at a party thrown by the singer herself. They were more confident, to match her performance. She added more aspects to the show like a bigger band, backup singers, lights, and choreography. There was one moment when she was in the box and it started tilting, and then she was caught by people on the bottom floor. There was another moment when she was laying on the ground and singing, once again with dramatic shots being aired on the jumbotron. Finally, this introvert is no longer hiding. She's no longer a mysterious, young teenager who's trying to break through with a single. She's not just a creator of cathartic pop music, but a well-planned show and a story to tell. She danced from left to right, told personal stories in between songs, and interacted with the crowd by making eye contact with the camera several times and literally jumping in and hugging fans. I don't know if I could ever imagine Lorde doing anything like this 3 years ago, but she's incorporated a whole new level of theatrics. She's no longer standing and singing a song, she's putting on a show.
This is the second era of Lorde. This is the beginning of Melodrama.