Lana Del Rey at Vicar Street – Photos & Review
Lana Del Rey, Vicar Street, May 26th, 2013
I first encountered Lana Del Rey in concert almost two years ago at her first London show. She tiptoed on stage, barely raised her head and clutched her mic stand for dear life. This weekend, making her Irish debut at Vicar Street, her new growth as a live performer was staggering.
Calmly sashaying her way on to a set of Liberacé style glamour (candelabras, plastic palm tress and two imposing lion statues) to the swooping strings that have become a trademark, she opens her mouth and lets the brilliantly lewd line, “my pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola”, fall from her lips. And just like that, the crowd is enraptured with her. How couldn’t they be? Del Rey is picture perfect in her white lace dress and a generous splash of diamonds.
Then in a flash she disappears from view, dropping off stage to pay respects to the fans who have waited all day to get to the front. It’s quite touching; the love she has for her fans is admirable and those who camped out and battled for the front are awarded with the best night they’ve had all year. But for the rest of the crowd this moments are awkward, silence-filled nothings. The backing band try their best, but 3-5 minutes of melodramatic guitar solos is just schmaltzy adult-contemporary fare and the show loses its pacing everytime Lana gets down to pose for selfies.
On “Blue Jeans” she plays with her vocals, swiftly alternating between girlish coos and a weathered lament. “Born to Die” is returned to its original incarnation. When she first drops the line, “let me fuck you hard in the pouring rain” its met with a gasp. Her latest single “Young and Beautiful” is given pride of place in the setlist and stands strong alongside earlier tracks. It’s not exactly new territory lyrically, but Del Rey does manage to have a signature style while making her singles each feel unique.
Lana lets that audience’s euphoric response to ever move and every coo ease her in to the set and she grows more brilliant with every song. By the time we get to “Video Games” she’s almost moved to tears by the cheers. With a beaming smile while wiping away a tear she acknowledges that “over the last two years a lot of people have said a lot of things… and it means so much to be here now with my friends and fans”. “Video Games” has become her very own love song for her fans. ”Only worth living if some body is loving you,” she coos as she gesture to the audience, ”…and baby now you do.”
She ends the set with a poppy version of “National Anthem” and she’s close to dancing; Del Rey is having just as good a time as the crowd. Don’t let the statues on stage fool you, Del Rey is still more pussycat than lioness. She’s still somewhat of a newcomer to performing, but it’s only a matter of time before her ferocity really comes out on stage.
Review by Damien Ryan
Photos by Tudor Marian