No Summertime Sadness: Lana Del Rey’s Endless Summer Tour Review
Lana at Montreal’s Bell Centre captured by Chris Upshaw and his iPhone. ©marcandrew.ca
I’ve been a Lana Del Rey fan since she gained underground buzz with her video clip for her hit song, “Video Games.” She hadn’t yet released her debut album, Born To Die, and the internet was going wild for her vintage aesthetic that set her apart from the pop queens who were on the scene.
Her whole vibe intrigued me and I immediately scoured the net looking for more tracks. It turned out she had tons of unreleased songs at anyone’s disposal on YouTube. I became a man obsessed and I’ve bought each of her albums the day they were released. Born To Die, Paradise and Ultraviolence showcase an artist who’s in a lane of her own in today’s musical landscape.
With such a meteoric rise to fame there was an inevitable fall and Lana felt it faster than most when she gave a stiff, uneven performance on Saturday Night Live followed by a few more off-key concerts. These performances had me slightly apprehensive to see her live at first. I didn’t want to be disappointed. Is she an artist that can only pull off great songs in a studio with the help of multiple takes and auto-tune?
I’m glad to say that isn’t the case. Whatever nerves and voice issues she had when she first stepped on the scene have washed away, and the Endless Summer Tour is a wonderful showcase of her haunting presence and undeniable talent.
After a strange and energetic opener by Canadian singer, Grimes (who was enthusiastically running around the stage in a boot cast and surrounded by what looked like dancing cast members from TV’s Portlandia), Lana and her band quickly took over at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
The stage was set up as a slightly Art Deco inspired city street with a single marquee sign that read “Del Rey” in bright lights. The band flanked both sides of the stage and Lana made her grand entrance in a simple white dress and brown belt. She kicked off the show with “Cruel World” off her latest album, Ultraviolence.
Her setlist consisted of songs from all three albums and also included two cover songs. Midway through the show, she sat down and really let her voice shine in a cover of “Chelsea Hotel #2” by Canada’s own Leonard Cohen.
The real surprise was her sultry rendition of Peggy Lee’s “Why Don’t You Do Right” (widely remembered as that Jessica Rabbit song from Who Framed Roger Rabbit). This tune fits the Old Hollywood glamor and seductive nature that Lana embodies. She also debuted two previously unreleased tracks, “Us Against the World” and “Serial Killer” (a track I had found online years ago and was glad to hear live. It is rumored to be on her next album).
With video footage of ocean waves, blooming magnolias and tangerine sunsets projected on a large screen on stage behind her, Lana truly made you feel that West Coast Californian vibe as the twang of the guitars lulled you into each song. Her music is the type to wash over you and our bodies swayed back and forth like anemone to fan favorites like “Blue Jeans,” “Summertime Sadness,” “Shades of Cool” and “Brooklyn Baby.”
I was surprised and slightly disappointed that she didn’t sing “National Anthem” or “Young and Beautiful” and being that her cinematic inclinations add to her video style and musical narrative, she missed the opportunity to give us live renditions of Maleficent’s “Once Upon a Dream,” “I Can Fly” or “Big Eyes” from Big Eyes or Age of Adaline’s “Life Is Beautiful.”
Lana finished the show with “Off to the Races” before going into the audience to shake hands, give hugs and take selfies with her adoring fans. It was a perfect way to cap of the show.
While for most of the concert she bounced between sedated and mildly amused, she really came fully alive embracing the love of the crowd. Hers is not a show of spectacle and pyrotechnics. There is no high energy dance routines to distract you. It’s just Lana drawing you slowly into her dark world and I never wanted to leave.
Us Against The World
Born To Die
Chelsea Hotel #2
Shades Of Cool
Why Don’t You Do Right
Off To The Races
-Chris Upshaw, guest blogger
Find more of Lana’s tour dates here.
Posted by Marc Andrew
on Jun 17 2015. Filed under Blog
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