LANA DEL REY
ENMORE THEATRE, NEWTOWN
27 JUNE 2012
Indie pop sensation Lana Del Rey has embarked on her first Australian tour with two sold-out shows in Sydney. On Friday night, the humble filled-to-the-brim Enmore Theatre intimately housed a group of people charmed by her carefully crafted image and romantic hits reminiscent of an earlier time. One such track was “Blue Jeans”, which kicked off the night to cheers and whistles from the adoring crowd.
Del Rey’s appeal is phenomenal. Lined up front row were underage teenage girls who sneaked in a flask they shared amongst each other. You can’t help but suspect that the singer has influenced this behaviour (she sings “keep making me laugh/let’s go get high” in her album’s title track). Males were also adequately represented, undoubtedly admiring more than the songstress’ vocals.
A large bird clip decorated the singer’s hair and she wore a classy white form-fitting dress. Her petite tattoos were constantly visible during her signature hand gestures. Between singing upbeat tunes fans knew word-for-word, Del Rey mumbled indecipherably, igniting both confusion and curiously. Perhaps it is an intentional component of her persona that she pulls off effortlessly. She is alluring and mysterious, yet gentle and delicate.
Del Rey’s voice has been described as unique and versatile. In real life, she doesn’t disappoint. She ever-so-slightly alters her songs to showcase her vocal range and take her studio-recorded tunes to a new level. I wouldn’t go as far to say that they made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, but she can undoubtedly sing, and did more than enough to redeem herself from her much-ridiculed Saturday Night Live performances earlier this year.
The show was an intimate one – Del Rey constantly climbed off-stage, grasping the hands of fans in the front row to deafening screams. It happened so often that it seemed like she was purposely trying to retreat from the rest of the audience in shyness. It is ironic that she seems to want to divert attention (her set lasted merely 45 minutes), but in doing so, she creates it.
Her cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” was commendable, and following several wistful melodies, the night ended with “National Anthem”, Del Rey exiting with the Australian flag draped over her back and a plush kangaroo and koala in her arms. It happened so abruptly I actually missed the moment and had to rewatch it on YouTube.
If you look for pyrotechnics and fancy special effects in concerts, you might not appreciate the simple setup of Lana’s shows. The audience is treated to constant video footage from a large screen at the back of the stage and a small garden-like floral arrangement, which reminds one of life’s fragile moments, and combined with Del Rey’s voice, the whole experience is like a memorable ballet recital or acoustic session at a café on a cool winter’s night. Whether you’re a fan or critic, Lana Del Rey is simply captivating. A flashy stage would almost be inappropriate, because she is the sole spectacle herself.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 1/2
Watch Del Rey at the Enmore on my YouTube channel.