Live Review: Lorde @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

11 March 2023 | 11:34 am | Michael Prebeg

Lorde provided party dance-offs and blissful tunes for last night's Melbourne audience.

(Pic by Valerie Lee)

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Special guests MUNA play their first-ever Melbourne show tonight on this tour to support their recently released third album. We give the American indie pop band a warm welcome. Lead vocalist Katie Gavin asks us to give her a hand signal if we notice any wardrobe malfunctions after buying her outfit from a cheap teen clothing store. 

They share a country song about being really fucking messy (Taken) and lots of break-up songs including Anything But Me about trusting your instincts and following your truth. The trio have been a band for ten years after starting out in a college dorm room. Now they’re touring the world and are wholeheartedly embraced by the queer community. They celebrate peace, love and equality with the first single (I Know A Place) from their debut album which serves as an anthem for the safety of the LGBTQ community. 

“If you know this song, scream it at the top of your lungs, shouts Gavin before they end with their most popular song Silk Chiffon and the crowd can barely contain their excitement to hear the blissful track live.

Lorde makes her first return to Australia in six years and is back at the Bowl in Melbourne tonight for her Solar Power world tour. It’s been a long time coming after being pushed back a year. A minimalist set is revealed as the curtain drops and Lorde’s silhouette shines in the spotlight as she opens with Leader Of A New Regime.

She emerges from a circular object on the stage wearing a pants suit with flowing golden blonde hair as she launches into Homemade Dynamite to send the crowd wild. She parades around the stage moving up and down a staircase and dancing to the hard-hitting track to get our blood pumping and bodies moving. Buzzcut Season quickly follows and Lorde flails her arms around to the music with haste.

Lorde invites us to release any trapped feelings into the night sky as nearly 8,000 bodies come together to share her music as a group during the breakdown of Hard Feelings. It’s a full sensory experience of movement as the stage rotates, reflecting light and casting shadows to imitate a sundial. 

After a quick costume change into a floral dress, Lorde sits front and centre along a sundial gnomon staircase in the front row of her band for The Path. The mood instantly switches to a more intimate and laidback vibe with tracks from her latest album. It's noticeable that the version of Lorde on stage tonight is older, wiser, more confident and more secure. “I feel a little bit more connected and calmer. I’m happy and I feel really proud to sit in front of you and say that,” she reveals.

Lorde confesses that despite coming to our city since she was sixteen, she has never really explored Melbourne until yesterday due to debilitating stage fright that previously kept her confined to her hotel room bed with dread before every show. “It’s been six years and I’ve dealt with this problem, and I now feel nothing but joy to be somewhere,” she reveals. Lorde continues to share the amazing day she experienced exploring our city and confesses she’s a big fan.

“This song (Ribs) was written when I was fifteen and sung when I was sixteen so it means we’ve been dancing to this for ten years! Melbourne, shall we dance for our sixteen-year-old selves tonight?” She continues to power through fan favourites, Tennis Court, Supercut and Green Light. Lorde delivered a carefully curated setlist to take us on a journey over the years and showcases some of her best work to date.  

“There’s something about a day in the summer that makes me feel so strong and charged,” reveals Lorde. Before sharing the ultra-chilled track Solar Power, she talks about its creation that came about after spending an entire day outside with absolutely no responsibilities but swimming, sunbathing and daydreaming. 

“We live in very confusing, complicated, painful times and if there is one tiny moment of joy you can steal from the natural world that takes you back to something very pure and ancient, then you must take it,” she says. Even though the summer is almost over, we summon those versions of ourselves to try and make it stick around a bit longer as we join in harmony for the ultimate summertime anthem.

An encore of Team and Royals brings us back for a big dance party send-off. “Thank you for being here through all the phases, all the stages. I can't wait to show you where we go to next,” Lorde says. We just hope next time won’t be so long before she returns to our shores.

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Lorde's Australian tour continues tonight in Melbourne, before heading to Sydney, Adelaide Festival, and Perth. Find tickets here.