Lorde finds her (almost) perfect place

20 March 2023

Lorde reigns supreme in a magical evening under the stars. Just a pity, writes Julie Hosking, the Kiwi queen doesn’t have any power over the exit.

Belvoir Amphitheatre, 18 March 2023 

It seems like the perfect place to end a world tour. A cool breeze rustles the trees in and around Belvoir Amphitheatre, the Southern Cross glittering above. 

The star of the show is clearly bewitched. “I’m in the most beautiful amphitheatre I’ve ever seen and I get to whisper to you for an hour and a half – that is my dream,” Ella Yelich-O’Connor tells her adoring crowd. 

A dream a long time in the making. It’s been six years since the singer better known as Lorde was in Perth to promote Melodrama, partly because of a self-imposed break between the 2017 album and 2021’s Solar Power and partly due to Covid. 

When the date finally arrives, it seems organisers have severely underestimated the number of families taking their teens. The queue for those of us needing to sign an indemnity waiver for fans under 18 snakes out the entry and moves at a glacial pace, while others scoot past. How difficult is it to pass some of those forms to lines where attendants are standing with nothing to do?

But it’s hard to dampen the mood. Many of Lorde’s fans have grown up with her, as she acknowledges before launching into the beloved anthem for angst-ridden youth Ribs, and nothing is going to take the shine off the experience. 

Befitting someone who describes herself as “very, very shy”, we hear Lorde before we see her – that pure voice ringing out to Leader of a New Regime, her figure a shadow against the round box supporting a floating staircase to nowhere.  

When the New Zealander leaps out in a lime-green suit to crank up the volume for Homemade Dynamite, the crowd is singing along with her, voices soaring through the night air: Let’s let things come out of the woodwork/ I’ll give you my best side, tell you all my best lies. 

The set is a crowd-pleasing mix of the new and the old, including several favourites from her 2013 debut Pure Heroine

Lorde’s every move is lapped up by her adoring fans. Photo: Valerie Lee

It’s a simple but clever stage that turns on a giant lazy susan, backlit by the ever-changing hues of an enormous sundial, the musicians moving about like chess pieces. The sound is crisp and clear, the mix allowing the star’s impressive vocals to shine, whether in a tender rumination of Stoned at the Nail Salon or belting out the refrain to Perfect Places. 

Perhaps because it is the final show of an interrupted tour of almost 20 countries, Lorde is in an expansive mood. It’s hard to believe this self-assured performer who dances, skips and runs across the stage, sneaking in three quick-fire costume changes, ever suffered from crippling stage fright. Then again, she was only 16 when she burst onto the scene with the Grammy-winning Royals, a song about being anything but. 

Now 26, her struggle to find her voice in the aftermath of fame so young led to a transformative chapter that, she tells the crowd, made her feel more connected – to herself, to the earth and to her music.  

She’s certainly loved and appreciated tonight, fans lapping up her every move. While Lorde’s energy is impressive, the more reflective moments really elevate her vocals, none more so than a heartfelt Liability. 

By the time she winds it all up with Royals – the song that even parents there for their teens know by heart – and Teams, everyone is dancing, singing and feeling pretty damn sunny. 

We wander back to the adjacent field doubling as a carpark, basking in the afterglow. More than an hour later, bottlenecked drivers are still trying to get out without the attendants who guided us into neat lines at the start. Call me crazy, but I’d be prepared to pay a bit extra on my ticket to ensure we had the same traffic control at night’s end. 

It’s just as well Lorde left us smiling. To paraphrase the Kiwi queen, what are perfect places anyway?  

Pictured top: Lorde begins the concert in shadow, using the simple staging to beautiful effect throughout. Photo: Lachlan Douglas

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Author —
Julie Hosking

A journalist with more words to her name than she can count, Julie Hosking has worked for newspapers, magazines and online publications in Melbourne and Perth. She has been a news editor, travel editor, features editor, arts editor and, for one terrifying year, business editor, before sanity prevailed and she landed in her happy place - magazines. If pushed (literally), she favours the swing.

Past Articles

  • Spring into the school holidays

    From Awesome activities to magical nannies, there are so many marvellous ways to have a jolly holiday, writes Julie Hosking.

  • In the eye of the storm

    Breaksea’s poignant story of the search for light in the darkest hours ignites the senses. Julie Hosking rides the waves of emotion.

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