When 17-year-old singer Lorde performed at Lollapalooza over the summer, she wasn’t a headlining act and yet she still drew a huge crowd that numbered in the thousands. The set was one of the festival’s highlights; one thing that worked in the young New Zealand native’s favor was the fact that she performed in the afternoon while it was still light out, and this enabled fans to really connect with her. Last night at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in front of an enthusiastic audience that filled about half the venue, her vocals sounded great and her performance was really solid, but the stage was engulfed in smoke for so much of the set, it made it hard to see her and get that same connection.
The 75-minute concert started with the Portishead-like “Glory and Gore,” a defiant song from her 2013 debut Pure Heroine
. Wearing a black jumpsuit and standing under a single white spotlight, Lorde broke into a manic dance, whipping her long hair in the air and then raising her fist above her head as she sang “victory’s contagious.” Accompanied by a drummer and keyboardist, she sang to a track that included backing vocals, but that didn’t keep the performance from having an immediacy.
Lorde capably fluctuated between trippy, Cocteau Twins-inspired numbers such as “Buzzcut Season” and trip-hop-inflected songs such as “No Better,” a moody tune that sounded more like Tricky than Portishead. After changing into a white gown, she launched into a cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights,” showing just how capable she could rap. And then she simmered down for a sultry, soulful cover of Bon Iver’s “Heavenly Father,” a tune she introduced by saying it was one of her favorite songs. A final wardrobe change into a bright red dress and gold crown preceded her big hit “Royals” which she delivered under a marquee that read “Tonight: The tragic and wonderful triumphal procession of Lorde.” But in truth, there was nothing “tragic” about this woman’s “triumph.” She’s a prodigious talent — can’t wait to see what she comes up with for her sophomore effort.