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Lorde @ Challenge Stadium, Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lorde - Photo by Cole Maguire
Lorde – Photo by Cole Maguire

Safia

Challenge Stadium

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lorde’s fans are a fervent lot but have also had to practice patience, as this tour that was originally scheduled for April/May had to be postponed due to a ‘nasty chest infection.’ There was nobody happier to be in the stadium that the artist herself, if her gushing praise of the crowd was to be believed.

Before the latest antipodean superstar could show her wares, Safia took to the stage. The beat-driven band were enjoying the sizeable crowd as the bass could be heard rattling the seats in the venue while those on the floor practiced their moves for the headliner. Ben Woolner has a strong vibrato and the audience showed appreciation when the familiar Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues was let out towards the end of the set.

With the stage draped in a black curtain, Lorde confidently strode out to the middle of the stage before a spotlight bathed her during Glory And Gore. As she showed off urban dance moves to a dense backing track, this intense opener was to be somewhat of a calm before the storm. The curtains dropped to reveal the two band members behind drums and keyboards who clearly have a savant-like understanding of samples as they made their way through Biting Down – one of the few moments that would act as filler for an act that is limited to the one record to her name.

If there was any doubt that the capacity crowd were 100 per cent behind the artist, she sealed the deal with a faultless delivery of Tennis Court. Lorde may be composed well beyond her years, but a few tunes later she had to stop Buzzcut Season halfway through stating that she was feeling sick and had to leave the stage briefly. As an eerie hush was followed by nervous chatter in the crowd, thoughts went to whether the previous cancellations were due to more sinister concerns, a stage manager who clearly didn’t get the memo declared that the ‘technical difficulties’ were being addressed and Lorde would resume soon.

When you have the aftertaste of vomit in your mouth, there are few bands that would be more appropriate than The Replacements. Clearly Lorde agrees as she returned to deliver a spacious rendition of Swinging Party. 400 Lux kept the refined vibe going and showed that less can be more, whereas Easy and Bravado were forgettable.

Lorde looked to be getting more colour back in her cheeks as she owned the stage more for Ribs, which gave the first set of monster beats for the night. The New Zealand teenager can now afford all the things she sings about in Royals yet still delivers the hit with such authenticity that it is impossible not to be engaged. The punters with the sea of mobile phones set to record couldn’t agree more. The celebration continued as the crowd danced as one to Team and confetti was sprayed into the crowd.

There is no doubt that Lorde is a talent who is going places in a hurry. As she matures you can only imagine how her shows will likely evolve to include backing by orchestras and choirs and will be nothing short of spectacular. Until then, there are no shortage of punters who are happy to settle for a show that may not be the most dynamic going around but is still of a high standard.

CHRIS HAVERCROFT