New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde performed in Columbus for the first time at the Schottenstein Center Saturday night as part of her “Melodrama” world tour. She was accompanied by two openers, Mitski –– whose performance I missed –– and Run The Jewels.
Going in, I had more interest in the opening act, Run The Jewels. Both RTJ and Lorde performed at Lollapalooza last summer but I only got the chance to see the latter –– whose show was unfortunately cut short due to inclement weather. Although her set was stunning, I didn’t think seeing her a second time would prove as exciting.
I was wrong.
Promptly at 9 p.m., the set began with “Sober” and six interpretive dancers took the stage. They danced amidst vivid blue spotlights as Lorde stood in shadow, barely visible behind them. After the chorus, a spotlight reveal showing Lorde sporting a flowing translucent robe was met with an eruption of cheers.
Lorde’s set was a mix of songs from her latest album “Melodrama,” her 2013 debut album “Pure Heroine” and a few singles. She performed her tracks “Homemade Dynamite,” “Tennis Court” and “Magnets” before the stage’s centerpiece was revealed. During “Buzzcut Season,” a rectangular glass box holding one of her dancers was lifted from beneath the stage using cables attached to the ceiling.
A dancer slid inside the box as it tilted back-and-forth above the stage during “Yellow Flicker Beat,” but the most impressive visual came during her performance of “Sober II (Melodrama).” Dancers were raised above the stage in the box illuminated by piercing red lights, perfectly complementing the song’s intensity.
For a tour called “Melodrama,” the staging wasn’t as over the top as one would expect. However, the elegantly choreographed dance routines and light displays resulted in a more intimate show that focused more on her presence, letting the softer moments shine and upbeat numbers soar.
At the end of “Ribs,” Lorde changed into a white gown before singing “The Louvre” — her dancers carrying her on her back around the stage toward the end. Quiet, more expressive moments came during performances of “Writer in the Dark” and “Liability.”
Lorde was smiling, laughing and having just as much fun as her fans throughout the entire show. Like most out-of-town performers, she attempted our state’s signature “O-H” chant and was blown away by a booming “I-O” in reply. She quickly fell in love with this midwest quirk and playfully snuck in an “O-H” during a cover of “Solo” by Frank Ocean.
Opening the show, rap duo Run The Jewels gave an energetic performance and hyped up a crowd that was mostly unfamiliar with their fame. Although I’m a fan, they were an admittedly odd opener for a Lorde show.
The two were hilariously self-aware of their situation, calling themselves the “drunk, sailor-mouthed cousins who took over the karaoke machine.” Various boyfriends dispersed throughout the crowd moshed in place while rapping along and giving each other knowing looks.
Although Lorde performed hits like “Royals” and “Supercut,” the highlight of the show — to no one’s surprise — was her performance of her hit song “Green Light.” Dancers climbed up rope ladders and into the suspended box while she danced with an infectious energy below.
After closing out her set with “Team,” the excitement stuck with fans as they flooded out of the Schott. This is a must-see tour that perfectly matches the intimacy and energy of Lorde’s discography. She described this concert as her “first date” with Columbus.
I can’t wait for our second.