Holly Madden reviews music sensation Lorde's take on O2 Victoria Warehouse.
Beginning the concert by introducing herself as Ella, Lorde, set up the atmosphere of the whole evening. The O2 Victoria Warehouse became a community, and it was evident how much Lorde was enjoying being back on the road for the Solar Power Tour.
I, like many other concertgoers in the queue, was confused as to why an artist with such acclaim and global reach as Lorde had chosen to avoid stadiums, however this became abundantly clear as the O2 married the spectacle of a stage show with the intimacy of a smaller crowd.
''It was evident how much Lorde was enjoying being back on the road for the Solar Power Tour''
The setlist joined the indie-folk and psychedelic aspects of the 2021 studio album with electropop classics and fan favourites from both Pure Heroine and Melodrama. Whilst this is the Solar Power tour, Lorde did not shy away from embracing fan-favourite songs from previous eras, solidifying this concert as a communal experience for both her and the fans.
Lorde’s vision of music as something to unite strangers was evident throughout, as she took breaks between every few songs to share personal stories about the music and her love for Manchester, as well as struggles that she has faced. This unabashed and raw expression is reflected throughout her discography in songs such as Liability and Ribs, both of which received incredible fan reactions on the night.
Lorde's statement in one of these breaks “this is a friendly room, we are all your friends,” could not be more apt. I myself was hesitant to attend the concert alone; but within the first 2 minutes of queuing met Holly, Brett and Saskia, who I would go on to spend the concert with. Instantly we became pals, discussing our favourite songs and what we were most excited to see, and it was evident that others in the crowd were doing the same.
Her self-awareness is something that can only come with so many years in the industry. Talking to the audience about how we have been dancing to some of these songs for over a decade really struck a chord with many of us who began following Lorde following the astounding success of Royals in 2013, when I was in Year 7. Growing up with Lorde is something that came across as many people in the crowd were of a similar age and were equally as excited for her quiet references to her previous work throughout.
''Solar Power demonstrates the confidence of an industry veteran who has maintained longevity through constantly evolving her musical style''
The show itself is incredibly indicative of Lorde as an artist who has matured immensely since Royals, as she was only 16 upon its release. Solar Power demonstrates the confidence of an industry veteran who has maintained longevity through constantly evolving her musical style around a core of electropop and dream pop, whilst maintaining the vulnerability and raw emotions that allow fans to connect so deeply with her songs.
The intimacy of Solar Power directly contrasts the angst and power driving Melodrama, which may be attributed to the 4 year gap between these albums. However, it is a testament to Lorde as a performer that the eclectic mix of styles and genres within her extensive discography merged seamlessly into each other throughout the concert. In fact I was surprised at how well some of the Solar Power songs, such as Secrets From A Girl (Who’s Seen It All) and The Path translated to a live performance. Solar Power in particular was transformed from a laid back and escapist track into a song for everyone to dance to.
Overall, the Solar Power album does not achieve the ‘danceability’ of Lorde’s previous synth driven tracks, however it does not claim to. The concert was as understated and smooth as the album, maximising minimalism and creating a cohesive and intimate experience for all fans. Lorde’s ability to make a venue of 3,500 feel as if there are only 100 people in the room during those quiet moments, and 10,000 during her upbeat tracks is something that cannot be obtained in the industry - authenticity is her ultimate selling point.
Edited by: Amrit Virdi