From new listeners to die-hard fans of Lana Del Rey, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
By Haley Noble, Photos by Haley Noble, Feature image courtesy of Polydor Records
Lana Del Rey has long been known as an icon in the indie world of music. In the early 2010s, she was among artists like The Neighborhood, Arctic Monkeys and Melanie Martinez who gained many listeners on the Tumblr social media platform. Each artist brought a new style into view, often mixing melodic vocals with raw subject matter and funky rock beats.
After previously recording under her legal name, Lizzy Grant, the artist took on the pseudonym Lana Del Rey for her 2012 album Born to Die and 2014’s Ultraviolence, both of which rose to popularity. Since then, listeners have seen Del Rey’s evolution through her music and the stories she is able to tell. She has used historical figures she admires, channeling Jackie Kennedy in the hit “National Anthem” and using Sylvia Plath and Norman Rockwell as inspiration. She has taken listeners to her past, from New York in “Brooklyn Baby” to Los Angeles in “Arcadia,” to a quiet life in suburbia in “Chemtrails Over the Country Club.”
Let the Lana Del Rey Carnival Begin!
On Sunday, Sept. 17, fans line up for hours outside the Germania Insurance Amphitheater before the venue opens. All are dressed according to their own idea of who Lana Del Rey is. From T-shirts to dresses, cowboy boots to platform heels, each fan captures the artist’s aesthetic with their choice of outfit. One can feel the buzz of the crowd even as fans wait in line in the afternoon heat.
Once the gates open, a carnivalesque scene greets fans. Concertgoers can choose from a variety of food and drink choices. There are tents selling concert merchandise, and a roller coaster and ferris wheel, both staples at the Circuit of the Americas.
The amphitheater itself provides an amazing view of the stage and great acoustics, no matter if you’re in the pit, a seat or on the lawn. On this night, the weather is perfect for an outdoor concert. The cool air of the evening under the stars is just the setting for this artist.
Nikki, Lana & Zella
As opener Nikki Lane takes the stage, fans can feel the presence and energy emanating from the country singer. Donned in denim shorts, boots and a hat, Lane begins her performance with “Highway Queen,” truly encapsulating her western devil-may-care vibe. She later does a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” which fans recognize and begin to dance and sing along. Closing out with the title track from her new album, Denim & Diamonds, Lane invites her personal friends on stage and leaves fans with a message of girl power.
Del Rey takes the stage about 40 minutes later, joining her band for the opening melodic song “Norman F*cking Rockwell.” This then transitions into the rhythmic “A&W.” Fans cheer and sing along, everyone now on their feet. She follows with the popular “Young and Beautiful.”
Addressing the crowd in a long lacy white dress and her own cowboy boots, Lana exclaims, “Wow, Austin, you really packed it in tonight!” She then dives into the slower-paced “Bartender,” “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” and “The Grants.” Afterward, she goes straight into “Cherry” and “Pretty When You Cry.” Both tracks showcase her vocal range through low tones to very high notes. Throughout, her backup singers show their own incredible range and add a deepness to each song.
The Lana Del Rey Experience
Del Rey does a cover of her own with “Stand by Your Man” by Tammy Wynette, accompanied by dancers two-stepping. Then she brings out Zella Day for a duet of “For Free.” This break in recognizable songs gives everyone a chance to hear something new and unexpected.
Nearing the end of the show, Del Rey sings classics “Blue Jeans,” “Summertime Sadness,” “Born to Die,” “Video Games” and “Ultraviolence.” She closes out with the title track of her newest album, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” and the lesser known but ethereal “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it.”
Del Rey gives fans an uplifting show, complete with a serene atmosphere. She impresses not only with her vocals, but with the ability of her band, dancers and the concert’s artistic direction. This tour feels intimate. You can sense the connection Del Rey makes with fans throughout her performance, as well as how important that connection is to her. Expectations are high that this energy will flow throughout each of her stops on this tour and will pour into the music she continues to release.