Photo via Instagram
Despite having lived in New York during the more burgeoning stages of her career, Lana Del Rey hasn’t played in New York City since 2012. Last night, competing with The Black Keys in the two final acts of the three-day Gov Ball, the former Williamsburg regular made sure to show her New York pride by wearing a slightly comical, slightly perfect Yankees themed dress as she took the stage in front of thousands of diehard fans.
Her performance boasted her relatively newfound comfort on stage, void of the overly dramatic vocal embellishments or awkward, laissez-faire dance moves that once plagued the talent’s live performances. Rather, she approached her audience with the perfect balance of smiles and her idiosyncratic pouty, femme fatale aura. While she’s admitted that her live show might not be the most exciting for festival crowds, there were thousands upon thousands of Lana lovers euphorically screaming every word to each song, many of them seemingly unable to believe that the relatively recluse artist, who manages to keep herself mostly unseen by the masses (with a personal life that is beyond secretive, as opposed to her tabloid-favorite Pop peers), was actually singing in front of their eyes. As if to reassure the crowd that this was indeed Lana Del Rey in the flesh, the sultry voice of a few of the past years’ most unanimously beloved tracks, the New York native played not only newer material like “Serial Killer,” but also classics from Born To Die and Paradise, such as “Off To The Races,” “Cola,” and of course, “Video Games.” Overall, her Endless Summer Tour set perfectly blends newer material with fan favorites.
The only space for improvement would be a better balance of sounds coming from stage, with hazes of electric guitar and ground shaking drums often drowning out Lana’s delicate voice — not to mention the gangs of disgustingly mannered teenagers frantically pushing their way through the crowd, screaming each word at the top of their lungs and thus further subduing Del Rey’s vocals. If last night’s performance indicated anything, it’s that Lana Del Rey has blossomed into a solid live performer, her career no longer clouded by previously less than stellar shows. However, with any cult-like following, it’s now a matter of fans learning how to respect the icon ash she performs rather than becoming overwhelmed with fanatical adoration.
After the show, as nearly fifty thousand people crossed the Hudson River Bridge back to Manhattan from Randall’s island, impromptu a cappella performances broke out among hordes of fans, with the infamous melody of “Summertime Sadness” carrying a satisfied crowd home.