If you’re going to see Lorde on her Melodrama tour, you’d better be prepared to move.
“This show is a lot of things, but above all, this is the dancing show. I really hope you’ve worn your dancing shoes tonight,” the 21-year-old warned the crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening (March 14). After energetic warm-up sets from Tove Styrke and Run the Jewels, Lorde took the stage at precisely 9 p.m. and kicked off a 90-minute set marked by quirky choreography, super-sized emotions, softness, loudness, impulsiveness, and plenty of magical moments. Below, see the best 10.
When she started the party with “Sober”
A crew of six dancers accompanied Lorde throughout the night, and they were front and center when the show started, as Lorde launched into “Sober” while shrouded in shadows. It was a real tease, but once she finally emerged from the back of the stage and into the spotlight — at the tongue-twisting lyric, “Jack and Jill get fucked up and possessive when they get dark” — the crowd went absolutely nuts.
When she pulled off a wardrobe change in front of the entire arena
Usually artists will go backstage or below the stage for their mid-concert wardrobe changes, but not Ella. In a moment that felt like a real show of vulnerability, Lorde capped off “Ribs” by heading to the back of the stage to change her outfit in front of the entire crowd. She slipped off her shoes first, then her pants, standing in nothing but a sparkly bra and high-waisted short shorts as the camera stayed fixed on her. While the crowd cheered her on, she snapped a flowing black skirt around her waist, pulled on a matching long-sleeved crop top, and then returned to the front of the stage, staring intensely into the crowd as if to say, “Yeah, you know this dramatic AF look was worth the wait.” (Because yes, it totally was.)
When she sang the outro to “The Louvre”
Track No. 4 on Melodrama ends with a spellbinding, Cranberries-esque, minute-long guitar outro. In concert, Lorde let her voice do the outro, singing the guitar notes while she was hoisted in the air by her six dancers, laying parallel to the floor. How, you ask? IDK, gotta be witchcraft or something.
When “Yellow Flicker Beat” got a hard arrangement and a lil’ Lorde zinger
In one of the show’s boldest moments, a giant, transparent rectangle was suspended in the air with a dancer literally sliding inside of it. Not gonna lie, it was slightly anxiety-inducing, but that perfectly complemented the heavier, more eerie arrangement of “Yellow Flicker Beat.” At the end of it, Lorde told the crowd that she wrote the song a few years ago, but it’s been a lot of fun to sing recently because “it’s a song about bad people getting their comeuppance. And a lot of bad men getting their comeuppance this year, huh?!” Zing!
When she gave everyone goosebumps with “Writer in the Dark”
“This is such a beautiful room, holy moly,” Lorde marveled before a beautifully sparse rendition of “Writer in the Dark.” And that was before the whole arena was spontaneously lit up with cellphone lights. The ballad got one of the biggest applause breaks of the night, and also served as a segue into a more intimate portion of the show during which Lorde sat down and had a long talk with her fans.
“How you been? Are you dating anyone? Got any crushes? I feel like I want to catch up with you all one-on-one,” she said. She shouted out Melodrama co-writer and co-producer Jack Antonoff (“Hi, Jacky! Is this crazy or what?! We wrote all these songs and now we’re at the Staples Center!”), and then she thanked fans for seeing her “really clearly” and allowing her to showcase her true self. And what is that true self, you might ask? “The vivid dreamer, the overreacter, the fucking wild dancer, the teller of stories,” she said.
When she covered Frank Ocean’s “Solo”
This has become a new mainstay on the Melodrama tour, and it’s truly a beautiful moment. “This is a song I really love. It’s a song about being alone, which I realized lately is probably my favorite genre of music,” Lorde said before diving into one of Ocean’s standout Blonde cuts. The cover perfectly fit in with the rest of the setlist; it basically sounds like a Melodrama outtake.
When she changed into a pink frilly outfit before “Supercut”
After an explosive rendition of “Sober II (Melodrama),” Lorde retreated backstage for another (this time, private) outfit change. This time, she emerged in a pink, frilly top with matching pants that was basically the complete opposite of the dramatic, all-black ensemble she was wearing just a couple minutes prior. The way her outfit swayed as she jumped along to “Supercut” and reveled in being “wild and fluorescent” was stunning.
When she made it rain confetti at the end of “Green Light”
Before launching into “Green Light,” Lorde warned the crowd, “This isn’t one that we can fuck around for. This song requires a special kind of alchemy. All the joy and all the pain and all the pettiness and all the jealousy, and all of the fucking dancing.” Cue an aptly exuberant rendition of “Green Light” that culminated in a shower of confetti and a few thousand breathless bodies clamoring for more.
When she broke out an MPC for her encore
After a few minutes of piercing screams, Lorde returned to the stage for a more subdued encore, during which she broke out an MPC machine for “Loveless” and the unreleased song “Precious Metals.”
And when she made us all feel like we were on her “Team”
The coda to her three-song encore was the throwback hit “Team,” during which Lorde ventured down to the front row for hugs and high-fives. Somehow, she made it back onstage unscathed, smiling profusely in the show’s final, magical moment.