Lorde’s stunning second album ‘Melodrama’ is one that makes most sense as a whole. Peppered with interludes and unexpected tangents, it feels like a performance piece that needs to be digested in one go.
Songs from the album were first aired at a slew of summer festival slots, and while inciting euphoria in muddy fields across the world, they longed for a more dramatic, fully-formed stage.
Tonight, on the second night of the ‘Melodrama’ world tour, they get their wish. As Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ rolls into a grainy film projected on big screens accompanied by a passage narrated in suitably dramatic fashion by Lorde herself, the album’s title emerges onto the back of the stage in bright neon and the sense of fantasy and wonder that exists around ‘Melodrama’ is already fully brought to life.
Disclosure collab ‘Magnets’ gets hips shaking within seconds, before ‘Tennis Court’ takes things back to debut album ‘Pure Heroine’ - an album that turned four years old the day before the show, as Ella Yelich-O’Connor later reveals.
“I like playing in London,” she remarks before ‘Hard Feelings’, “cos I’m quite awkward, and you’re quite awkward”. If there’s anyone - and any album - to shake ten thousand Londoners out of a mid-week slumber and trek up the hill to Ally Pally in the driving rain to dance themselves into oblivion though, it’s Lorde and it’s Melodrama.
‘Sober’ loosens limbs even further to end part one of three of an impeccably choreographed set. A costume change (things have really changed from Lorde’s emergence as an alt-pop darling of the blogs, huh) is soundtracked by another snippet of film, before she returns with ‘Melodrama’ highlight ‘The Louvre’.
It’s ‘Liability’ that really steals the show, though. Anyone who’s seen Lorde since ‘Melodrama’ was released is well-versed in the singer taking a seat and making a speech of sorts before belting out the ballad, but the predictability makes her words no less profound, and the tears visibly appearing in her eyes no less real.
“They’ll sing this with us one day,” she says, paraphrasing herself talking to co-writer Jack Antonoff when they finished writing the track, and as if on cue, an impassioned singalong follows, with few dry eyes remaining.
An admittedly strange but actually-very-good cover of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ follows, and is far more appropriate than at first glance; the singer pays homage to the unforgettable slaps of snare drum on ‘Melodrama’ cut ‘Loveless’, which closes the set in an unexpected encore.
Interlude two leads into a lightning fast, hit-packed last five tracks. The propulsive ‘Supercut’ rolls into a predictably rapturous reception for ‘Royals’. ‘Perfect Places’ is anthemic and ‘Team’ intense before the set comes to its natural, euphoric conclusion.
“This last song isn’t just any song,” Lorde says before ‘Green Light’, and though the comment is of course said in a different context, she’s absolutely right. Friends are on shoulders, lungs are torn with yelled singalongs and hearts are burst just as much as Lorde’s is on stage.
Lorde is undoubtedly a superstar now, but beyond all of the show’s production and flowery additions, is one she’s determined to make a shared experience. Team that with the intense emotional catharsis of ‘Melodrama’, and tonight proves she’s the most relatable pop star we have.