“It’s a good time to be a woman in the music industry. Well, it’s getting better anyway.” Just two days after the Grammys, Grammy-nominated artist Lana Del Rey spoke these words at the Spectrum Center. On Jan. 30, the “Born to Die” singer transformed the Charlotte venue into her own beach, open highway and horse racetrack.
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved Lana Del Rey’s newest album, “Lust for Life.” There wasn’t a single song on that album that I didn’t play on repeat during the summer of 2017. However, if you somehow didn’t adore that album, there was no need to worry at her show, because it was the perfect blend of all of her albums. The setlist was essentially the hits from each of her five studio albums, and then some. The sultry singer performed all of her hits, including “Summertime Sadness,” “Born to Die,” “Off to the Races” and one of my personal favorites, “Ride.”
For each of her songs, she had two large screens that were in black and white, along with two dancers for most songs, and for a lot of the tracks, she did simple choreographed dances alongside her dancers. My favorite song from this concert is her second one on her setlist, which was “Pretty When You Cry,” because of how sensual the set and her dancing was. Right at the end of her first song, “13 Beaches,” Lana sat down with her dancers, and then laid down on the stage to perform “Pretty When You Cry,” which, despite being a song about crying, is a pretty sexy song as it is. Lana, throughout the whole song, remained on the floor of the stage, posing in different ways alongside her dancers, which went well with the sensual atmosphere of the song. She had one large screen in the middle of the stage, showing her on the floor, along with two screens on the sides of the stage. The screens showed her on the floor, and the crowd absolutely loved it. For that whole song, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.
Not only did she perform hits from each album, choreographed beautifully, but she performed older songs, such as “Serial Killer” which wasn’t released on a studio album, and one requested song. If you’ve been to a concert before, you know how artists will ask “what song should I do?” and then let the audience think they suggested a song, but really it’s one of a few songs they have prepared. It’s nice, but it’s clear that typically they will only perform it if they are prepared to. Lana didn’t exactly do this, in fact, she didn’t even ask the audience what song she should do. After performing “Ride,” the front row began to chant, without any prompting from the singer, “Heroin! Heroin! Heroin!” which is the name of one of her songs on “Lust for Life.” Upon hearing her fans chant her song, she walked around the stage with her hand on her hip, clearly contemplating whether or not to perform it. After thinking about it, she goes “that’s kind of a funny one to request, isn’t it?” and the crowd goes bananas. Despite thinking it’s a funny request, she begins to sing their song while squatting down and making direct eye contact with her fans. When getting to the chorus, she says “how does it go again?” and she let the crowd sing the chorus. Adorably, after the chorus she sings it again and laughs and goes, “I love that part!” Well yeah, Lana, I’d hope so, you wrote it.
This wasn’t the only way she made the arena show feel like an intimate affair. In the middle of her set, she went down to the front row and greeted as many people as she possibly could. She took pictures with them, talked to them, accepted gifts and notes, and even let them kiss her on the cheek. She did this for at least eight minutes. This may seem small to some people, but I’ve been to many concerts, and it’s rare that an artist does this in the middle of their show, let alone for that long during the setlist. After greeting people, she went back to the stage, holding many flowers and letters, and said “thank you for all the flowers and notes, I’m going to read them on my way to my next show.” She is an artist that I definitely believe when she says that.
By really performing a song her audience requested, acapella and in such an intimate manner, and by greeting her fans and taking the time to really talk with them, Lana Del Rey really made a simple concert into an experience, not only for those in the front row, but the whole arena. The only way that concert could have been better is if she was serenading me alone. Next time this queen comes back to the Queen City, I’ll be seeing her again, and I highly recommend that everyone else does too.