In the never-ending whirlwind of bar and club shows, it’s easy to forget the magic that occurs alongside the detail and attention given to full-scale concert productions. Lorde’s show on Wednesday night at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena was truly nothing short of pure magic.
Before her set, Lorde received some fantastic support from the inimitable queen of indie rock, Mitski, and explosive hip-hop duo Run The Jewels. With an early set time, Mitski unfortunately played to a half-empty arena while seats slowly filled, but was nonetheless spectacular, with a set that included the anthemic “Your Best American Girl” and closed with the scathing “Drunk Walk Home.” Run The Jewels played most of their hits like, “Call Ticketron” and “Stay Gold,” upping the rhythm and energy of the crowd in preparation for our Lorde and savior to take the stage.
Within a matter of seconds into her opening song “Sober,” the entire arena was transformed into Lorde’s own dreamscape, a transmutable playground for her to share her deepest secrets and darkest emotions. Background dancers flooded the stage when necessary to set the scene — an intimate party during “Homemade Dynamite” and a sensual dance between lovers during “The Louvre.” All at once, Lorde left everything and nothing to the imagination with settings as personally subjective as needed but altogether objective in their presentation.
Lorde herself transformed throughout the performance, starting the show with a sleek black outfit, changing midway through the show on stage into a flowing pink gown that she then later exchanged for flared red bottoms with a matching ruffled top. Lorde took the crowd through the emotions of her music with these expertly timed changes, reflecting the deftly planned setlist. Melding cuts from Melodrama and Pure Heroine together, Lorde presented a young and intense love broken down to the sweet innocence of intimacy, eventually bringing us to a spiteful but reflective post-breakup independence.
This is the artist of a generation at her most affecting, most genuine and truly most breathtaking. Her show was both a visual and auditory spectacle, blended perfectly into a story deeply and universally resonant. Prefacing “Ribs” off of Pure Heroine with “This is a song I wrote when I was 16,” she reminded the crowd of her former outlook as a teen, tracing the messy path to young adulthood with an incredibly perceptive eye. She took the time to thank the crowd for being with her, reflecting on the fact that she was once writing her songs alone in a bedroom without ever imagining she’d be sharing them with arenas full of people. Lorde also interposed a gorgeous cover of Frank Ocean’s “Solo” between “Writer in the Dark” and “Liability,” reflecting on her own efficacy in the messy melodrama of life through these three tracks. “Supercut” had the entire crowd screaming along, reminiscing on the purest, happiest moments of life scattered throughout the dark.
If Lorde’s performance showed us anything, it’s that we truly do not deserve an artist with such overwhelming talent. Without the words to do her justice, I’ll leave you with this: Few artists are able to so magnificently capture acute emotion the way Lorde has with her music, and her performance follows suit in a way that is so immersive and tangible it’s almost impossible not to feel the melodrama.