By Stephen Fantinel
A funny thing happens when you attend a Lana Del Rey concert. In the midst of all the excitement, there is a conscious thought in the back of your mind, asking, almost pleading, “will she be any good tonight singing live?” Not even a year has passed since Del Rey made her successful breakthrough in the music industry and much debate and scrutiny has been raised over her musical talent and her ability to perform live. Therefore, it is almost expected that you would feel a little nervous for her – after all, her disastrous Saturday Night Live performance from earlier this year seemed to still be on the audience’s minds that night.
But surprisingly, when Lana Del Rey’s sultry figure walked on stage (fresh from her sold out Adelaide and Melbourne concerts) to an audience of 2000 people, she delivered a show which not only crushed the reservations of audience members and critics, but left them feeling silly for ever doubting her ability to perform. From the moment she opened the one hour show with her popular hit ‘Blue Jeans’ the audience members, comprised of a mixed gender of mostly teenagers and young adults, were in a frenzy, hanging onto every near perfect note.
Del Rey, whose modest show transformed Sydney’s Enmore Theatre into a lavish 50’s style lounge/garden, looked positively thrilled to be in Sydney. Moreover, her love for 40’s, 50’s and 60’s music, fashion and film was impressively incorporated into her show with stock footage from that era (shots of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and old school Disney flicks like Fantasia etc.) flashing on the screen behind her. Although her conversation with the crowd was kept to a bare minimum, she fed off their excitement and energy (and even cheekily smirked when the first round of wolf whistles echoed through the room).
She performed and swayed in her angelic white dress to most of the fan favourites off her hugely successful number one album ‘Born To Die’. A stripped back rendition of ‘Million Dollar Man’, her breakthrough hit ‘Video Games’ and the epically long show-closer ‘National Anthem’ were her strongest performances of the night. Hell, she even changed her show up a little by throwing in two other tracks; a dark and creepy new song called ‘Body Electric’ and a (surprisingly good) cover of Nirvana’s iconic 1993 hit ‘Heart-Shaped Box’.
After such wide spread public criticism, endless setbacks, and her music career playing heavily on people’s minds, it is nice to see Del Rey put on a show which makes the doubters question their judgements. Furthermore, it is very rare to see such a modestly set up show leave such a strong impact. In the end it just goes to show that the lovely Lana Del Rey has a knack for keeping people (namely her ever growing fan base) interested, and it certainly makes you appreciate both her honest music and the cool original style that accompanies it.