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LIVE: LORDE with Laura Jean – Perth, WA, 18 Mar 2023

| 20 March 2023 | Reply

LIVE: LORDE with Laura Jean – Perth, WA, 18 Mar 2023
Belvoir Amphitheatre, Perth, Western Australia – Saturday, 18 March 2023
Review & photos [unofficially taken from the crowd by phone] Pete Gardner

Perth crowds are a patient lot, we have to be. Perth always seems to be after thought, or just totally overlooked on the touring schedules, probably more due to the logistics of reaching the world’s most remote city than anything else, and over the last 3 years that patience has been tested. But tonight, that patience was rewarded.

After a pandemic induced 10-month delay from the original date, Ella Yelich- O’Connor, otherwise known as Lorde, reached the climax of her massive 73 date, 20 country, Solar Power world tour. After headlining Glastonbury, both legs of the transcontinental Primavera Sound Festival and the Life is Beautiful festival in Los Angeles, it feels like a privilege to finally see Lorde performing at the far more intimate and beautiful Belvoir Amphitheatre in the Swan Valley, north of Perth.

The Venue is understandably sold out, and the queue has already grown well in advance of the 6pm doors, as Lorde’s legion of fans line up for pole position to make it to the barrier. As I wander into the venue, past the huge queue in front of the merch stand, past the bar selling the obligatory overpriced beer and wine, I head down to the floor of the amphitheatre to find the area in front of the stage already packed an hour before Laura Jean, tonight’s support, comes on.

Laura Jean is welcomed by the already enthusiastic crowd, joined on stage by a full band including a violin and cello, all uncomfortably lined up in a single row on the thin strip of stage remaining in front of the curtain hiding Lorde’s set. Laura Jean advises the crowd she has a toy electric piano, and is worried about the sound. She was right to be worried – the sound is poor. I wonder if there is a
problem with the bands monitors with the violin obviously out of time with the piano during the first number. The piano sounds tinny, the bass is mixed so far forward it drowns out the rest of the band and the vocals are thin and lost in the mess. This is such a shame as the songs are good, and the band is popular with the crowd. The sound improved marginally as the set progressed, but I felt an
injustice was done and they deserved much better.

Come 9 pm the amphitheatre is at capacity. The floor is more tightly packed than the proverbial sardine can, and the sense of excitement is building. The curtain drops to a huge wave of noise from the crowd, and the stage set is revealed as a temple to the sun with a giant sundial in the centre, the arm doubling as a staircase, rotating continuously to a new position between and during songs. A huge circular sun with constantly changing light serves as the backdrop.

Lorde appears in silhouette in a large circular drum beneath the arm of the sundial, opening the show with the mellow, but haunting, Leader of a New Regime, a song about the world following an ecological disaster. After the low key start however, Lorde charges straight into her back catalogue, igniting the crowd with the favourites Homemade Dynamite and Buzzcut Season. Any doubts I had regarding the sound are swept away: the vocal mix is perfect, and the harmonies are bright and clear. Although the band is meticulously choreographed, Lorde’s explosive dancing feels spontaneous as she moves naturally and with joy across the stage.

After announcing this as the last night of the tour, and promising everyone she will just “bliss the fuck out!” a good helping of the Solar Power album follows. A first costume change from a green suit to an ochre dress makes her look like the high priestess of the temple, ironic as she sings the line “if you’re looking for a saviour, well that’s not me” from the brilliant album opener, The Path.

Lorde’s third album is musically her strongest to date and although a change in direction from the electropop of her first two releases, the crowd love every note and are enthusiastically singing along. I confess I can get frustrated when it’s hard to hear the singer you have paid good money to see being drowned out by some tone deaf fan next to you, but tonight was more like a massed choir, celebrating the music.

Over the next few numbers Lorde takes time to chat to the crowd. As she introduces the songs and discusses her reasons for writing the last album, she gets understandably emotional with this being the last performance of the Solar Power tour.

The tempo soon builds back up, and the crowd really comes alive jumping in unison to the breakdown in Ribs, followed by the brilliant Louvre from the Melodrama album. Liability is a big crowd favourite as the mass choir again finds its voice, and the second act closes with another costume change.

Appearing back on stage in silver baggy pants and a lilac corset for the third act, the obvious choreographing of the band becomes less intrusive as Lorde connects much more with the crowd. She powers through a selection of tracks from the Melodrama album including Sober, Supercut and Perfect Places. The set draws towards its climax with a brilliant rendition of the title track Solar Power, followed by the crowd really going off for Green Light. The set finishes with the album closer
Oceanic Feeling, as the band leave the stage for the encore break.

At this point, hero of the night awards must go to the two guys who could just be seen at the back of the stage manually spinning the giant sundial throughout the show. I wonder if it’s the same guys every night or if the crew take turns being the sundial roadies?

The Sun backdrop which has been going in and out of eclipse all night reignites for the encores. Lorde re-emerges to a huge wave of noise from the crowd, having changed costume again, now sporting a black one piece. A selection of songs from the first Album, Pure Heroine, finish a superb set list. 400 Lux, the mega hit Royals, and final song of the tour, Team, are received enthusiastically with the floor of the amphitheatre a jumping, singing mass of people.

Lorde comes down to connect with the crowd sharing hugs along the barrier before disappearing once more for the final time.

The first half of tonight’s set really was a by-the-book production, well-rehearsed and confident, but the show developed into something more as the night progressed, and Lorde let her emotions build and connected with the crowd. Perth, as I said above, is often at the end of the touring schedule, which means do get a good number of these tour finales. Sometimes it’s worth the wait.

Leader of a new Regime
Homemade Dynamite
Buzzcut Season
Stoned at the Nail Salon
Fallen Fruit
The Path
The Louvre
Big Star
Secrets from a girl (who’s seen it all)
Mood Ring
Solar Power
Green Light
Oceanic feeling

400 Lux

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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