On the Thursday night of July 26, the Enmore Theatre was packed out by a heady mixture of teenage admirers and twenty-somethings who had been through all the heartbreaks lamented in Lana Del Rey’s debut album, Born to Die. There were males too, filling the obligatory duties of being a good boyfriend. So let’s get started.
The stage was adorned with greenery à la Jurassic Park style (this is probably an inaccurate description), but I felt it was somewhat in discord with the accompanying grainy montages of Americana that have become Del Rey’s signature. Or maybe I’m just artistically/culturally challenged.
Opening the show was a heavily bearded indie artist called Oliver Tank accompanied by the ethereal, shawl-wearing Fawn, who he introduced as his friend. Fawn possessed lovely, shattering vocals that could make your heart melt. His music had a dreamy, electronic aesthetic to it that reminded me of Purity Ring and Germany Germany. However, he lacked the panache to enrapture the crowd, and it seemed most were just waiting for the star act to come on. Oliver Tanks said bye and left the stage.
After another forty-five minutes, the long awaited star LDR finally glided on stage (OMG!!!). The petite Del Rey had donned a gorgeous flower crown for the occasion and looked absolutely divine with her immaculately glossy hair. But if the subject of my attention (her hair and the extremely distracting moustache of one in the string quartet) is any indication of how engaging she was, you can probably guess that I wasn’t sold.
I’d like to point out that I really wanted to enjoy this show, I did. Despite all the criticism and the SNL shenanigan, I wanted this to work. This is the girl who vehemently defended Del Rey’s legitimacy as an artist in an office full of hipsters who hated her for ‘cheating’ her way into the industry. But I disgress.
First up was “Blue Jeans,” and it was clear that Del Rey was one mean songstress. Accompanied by a string quartet, with a bit of piano and guitar thrown in here and there, all the notes were delivered with finesse and clarity. She even did some fancy, high-pitched warbles to show off her vocal prowess (this is not sarcastic, the girl can sing). Her opening vocals were met with a screaming crowd and upheld smartphones getting snap-happy. This was a relatively new experience for me – I had never seen a gig through an iPhone before.
The rest of the gig was more or less the same – the crowd screamed when she touched her hair, they screamed when she knelt down, and more screaming when she did the operatic trills. She also covered Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” which was pleasant enough and garnered more screaming. Finishing with “National Anthem,” the songstress said her thanks and departed the stage. No encore was provided, nor was it needed, really; she had laid out all her cards on the table.
Though there is no doubt she has a fervent and loyal fan base who knew all the lyrics to her songs, Lana Del Rey still has a long way to go before becoming a true performer. Her show lasted a brief forty-five minutes with minimal on-stage banter and consisted almost exclusively of slow songs (which I’m not complaining about). But ‘mediocre’ was the best word I could find to sum up the evening.