Lorde delivers memorable performance

New Zealander Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, more commonly known by stage name “Lorde,” burst onto the music scene in 2013 with international hit “Royals” from her debut studio album “Pure Heroine.” Her second studio album, “Melodrama,” was released in 2017 and received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Lorde embarked on her Melodrama World Tour in the fall of 2017 and played the last show of the North American leg of her tour on April 15 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Lorde’s opening acts for this tour included Mitski, Run The Jewels (RTJ) and Tove Styrke. These three acts performed on a revolving schedule with two opening at each arena; the openers at the Nashville concert were indie-rock singer-songwriter Mitski and hip-hop duo RTJ.

Mitski performed songs such as “Francis Forever,” “I Will” and “Your Best American Girl.” I liked her mellow style and thought her songs fit well with Lorde’s. However, a lot of the audience was still walking in during her set, so it didn’t get a great crowd reaction or cultivate a real concert feel.

Run the Jewels performed popular hits “Legend Has It” and “Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1” along with other original tracks and some covers. Their music was considerably louder than Mitski’s and provided a clear contrast to both her and Lorde’s performances. While I personally didn’t enjoy their set that much, a lot of the audience seemed to like it, and their presence as an opening act might have brought in alternate concertgoers who wouldn’t have come to only see Lorde.

Lorde’s performance was on a whole other level compared to her opening acts. Flanked by backup dancers and a minimalist technological stage design, her act was on the next level. She opened her set with upbeat songs “Sober,” “Homemade Dynamite” and “Tennis Court.” Lorde continued this pattern of performing songs from both “Melodrama” and “Pure Heroine” throughout the concert. I preferred the songs from “Melodrama” because I’m more familiar with her latest album, but I liked hearing some of the more popular songs from “Pure Heroine” like “Royals.”

After a few throwbacks, more mellow songs and covers, Lorde entered into the second fun, energetic portion of her setlist. This latter half included “The Louvre,” “Hard Feelings,” “Writer in the Dark,” “Sober II,” “Supercut,” “Perfect Places” and “Green Light.”

It was during these songs that Lorde’s dancers and stage and lighting design really shone. Although she is known for her unusual dancing, I thoroughly enjoyed the choreography in her concert. Her backup dancers were very talented, and her involvement in the dances with them really added to the performance value. Additionally, her simple stage design, which included a caged box and several technological screens, was incorporated into the choreography and other aspects of the performance. The lighting design also sent out different colors of light into the crowd following the beats of the song which I thought really added to each song and hyped up the concert.

In the middle of these dance party bops, Lorde performed “Liability,” a sweeter, slower song from “Melodrama.” Before singing this song, she talked about her experience writing this album and her feelings that prompted her to write “Liability” specifically. Throughout the concert, Lorde spoke in between every few songs, mostly to prompt a crowd reaction, but just as often to share a thought or feeling she had about her songs or her performance or just her life in general. Her comments showed wisdom and emotional intelligence beyond her years (she’s only 21!), and her New Zealand accent made her remarks even more captivating.

For her encore, Lorde performed “Loveless” from “Melodrama” and “Team” from “Pure Heroine,” as well as a Patsy Cline cover. Having sang the first half of “Hard Feelings/Loveless” earlier on in the concert, Lorde performed the more lively second-half of the song in the encore. While it isn’t typical to end a concert with a song from a past album, “Team”’s iconic, dance-along-song feel made it a great way to end the show.

The “Melodrama” tour encourages the audience to take a page out of Lorde’s book and dance like no one’s watching.