by Alicia Romero
Since entering the music scene with her first full-length album Pure Heroine, Lorde has been the epitome of cool. Four years later and a second full-length album under her belt, that statement continues to be true. The Melodrama World Tour arrived at Portland’s Moda Center, a stage almost 20 times larger than that of her first concert in PDX when she performed at the Crystal Ballroom. Starting promptly at 9 o’clock a group of contemporary dancers took the stage, a cool purple hue beamed over the stage as the opening notes of “Sober” began. 10 seconds went by until the star emerged under a single spotlight, dancing and singing her way through the second and third songs on her newest album Melodrama. Lorde catered to fans of the new, fans of the old, and fans of the in-between, also singing “Tennis Court,” “Magnets,” “400 Lux,” and surprise favorite “Moon River.”
“I want to take you somewhere, I want to take you back to my house when I was 16, my parents were away, you know what happens,” Lorde said. The singer gives a sly smile before singing “Buzzcut Season,” a song about how people can become over-absorbed in their own lives without realizing the brutalities of the external world. A single dancer gave an outstanding performance dancing inside a giant glass box, a complimenting metaphor. After a quick costume change the stage transformed into a beautiful magenta mess. “The Louvre” sparked energy throughout the entire arena, everyone around me was dancing, and as the pink strobe lights lit up the floor, the crowd could be seen erupting with vivacity.
Lorde interacted with the audience a lot, it was apparent she enjoyed interacting, even at one moment addressing her inability to speak to anyone other than as if they were sitting together at the dinner table.
“This song is about being exactly who you are, just doing it, being that person, that dreamer, that fucking mess, that writer, that’s all I know how to do,” the singer confesses before beginning “Writer in the Dark.” Hundreds of phones illuminated Lorde singing center stage, it was an intimate spectacle I was surprised to see in the colossal Moda Center. To this more relaxed portion of the concert Lorde surprised the crowd by singing “Moon River,” to which I (loudly) sung along with great pleasure. After her final costume change into a sheer track suit and a neon green sports bra and shorts underneath, Lorde pumped things up a bit performing her two most popular hits off Melodrama, “Perfect Places,” and “Green Light.” The finale was a spectacle to remember, green strobe lights filled the arena, the energy was captivating, and no one was seen sitting still during this grand display.
A three song encore and four years later Lorde has shown to be just as much as a performer as she was then at the Crystal Ballroom, leaving no audience member disappointed. It was a night to remember, I think I speak for all when I say that Lorde, her talented dancers, and that cool clear box are welcome back anytime.