Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram

Live Review: Lana Del Rey, Borns

3 April 2018 | 10:58 am | Dave Burrowes

"It was refreshing to see an artist with what is usually such a controlled brand do a show that was more concerned with the fans than being smooth and glossy."

More Lana Del Rey More Lana Del Rey

Having managed to get caught in the Qudos Bank Arena's airport security-style entry lines, we're not sure if Lana Del Rey's support act Borns was any good. We did however overhear what sounded like a muffled rendition of Electric Love, which we'll bet was great. Give yourself a good hour to get into the venue if you want to catch the support acts. 

The main act started in true Lana Del Rey fashion with black and white aerial footage of Sydney projected on the giant back wall screen with plenty of film grain added for that Golden Age Hollywood feel - this was the aesthetic that dominated the night/Del Rey's career. Del Rey kicked things off with 13 Beaches and Cherry from Lust For Life, followed by Pretty When You Cry from Ultraviolence. It wasn't until Del Rey went back to her debut album with Born To Die and Blue Jeans, however, that the crowd really lost their shit and began to properly sing along.

Del Rey's performance certainly didn't lack for spectacle but it felt more intimate than your standard mega-pop star fare. The musician seemed almost surprised to have sold out the arena venue. The show was filled with creative, striking imagery as Del Rey roamed the set finding a different position song by song; Pretty When You Cry started with her and the back-up dancers lying on the floor, singing to a camera above with their image superimposed on the screen at the back of the stage, and she sang White Mustang on top of the piano.

Del Rey gave a lot of attention to the front row throughout the performance, pausing to take selfies, collect gifts and have little conversations. Twice she disappeared from view, returning with arms filled with flowers and notes and one time a tiara - her gifts from the mosh. The second half of the show had an almost improvised feel to it as Del Rey consulted the crowd for requests and chose songs by applause polls, delivering even when she wasn't confident of how the track went; "I don't know the words but it seems [to be] what they want." 

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

While this audience consultation sometimes maybe went on too long, with large gaps between songs, it was refreshing to see an artist with what is usually such a controlled brand do a show that was more concerned with the fans than being smooth and glossy. Del Rey wasn't afraid to challenge herself and show the audience detours from the standard, new album setlist; she did a vocals-only rendition of Dark Paradise, a Change/Pride/Young & Beautiful medley, and even donned her guitar to revisit early track Yayo solo.

The night went long, Del Rey performing for almost two hours, right up to the venue curfew. The set was intimate, bold and, while perhaps a little rough and improvised at times, was built for the fans. She left it all out on the field, finishing the set with Off To The Races - easily the biggest banger of the night.