18 Apr 2017

Lorde at Coachella: Three new songs and a whole lotta confidence

11:18 am on 18 April 2017

The performance was a stunner. 


Lorde performs at Coachella 2017.

Lorde performs at Coachella. Photo: AFP

Lorde has evolved from pop world outsider into bonafide pop star. Her performance at Coachella, in front of a crowd of 75,000 ahead of rap superstar Kendrick Lamar, proves it. 

Opening with an intro to recent single ‘Green Light’, the song’s lyrics of post-breakup rumours and mismatched perspectives transitioned seamlessly into the opening refrain of ‘Tennis Court’: ‘Don’t you think it’s boring how people talk / Making smart with their words again, well I’m bored’.

She asked fans to welcome new song ‘Homemade Dynamite’ with “the biggest fucking birthday” at Coachella. A sonic continuation of her song ‘Magnets’, Lorde sings about the start of a mutual infatuation - that electrifying point that comes before “blowing shit up with homemade dynamite”.

From the few songs we’ve now heard from the upcoming album Melodrama, it’s clear Lorde has moved on from the observer role of Pure Heroine’s parties and into the centre of the dancefloor alongside her friends, singing about drinking, dancing and drugs.

On a stage designed by Es Devlin, the same creative director behind Adele’s ‘Hello’ world tour set, a translucent box was suspended on the stage behind the singer, with silhouetted dancers re-enacting typical party scenes within. Starting with the awkward small talk at the start of the set, by the time another new song ‘Sober’ got its debut about two-thirds of the way through the party had turned into a messy jumble of limbs on the floor.

Lorde performs at Coachella 2017.

Lorde performs at Coachella 2017. Photo: AFP

Throughout the hour-long set she ran across the stage, joining the dancers inside the box in between moments of flinging herself about in ecstatic abandon, clawing at the air and whipping her hair around her. The confidence she’d gained over the years was clear and she allowed herself to take up as much space on the vast stage as possible.

That’s what makes Lorde’s success particularly exciting too; while I don’t share the exact same life experiences as her, the environment that has shaped what she writes about is one that will be familiar to many New Zealanders. Any feelings of cultural cringe are no longer justified when here is a pop star singing about our streets, our parties and winning Grammys for it.

On stage at Coachella, wearing the same Adidas shoes you’ll see worn by the young and trendy on Queen Street, Lorde’s metallic silver flares and chain mail-esque top served as her suit of armour, protecting her against heartbreak, melodrama, rumours and reinforced her own sense of confidence.