The combination of the drizzly rain and 40 degree weather might have made for an otherwise miserable and dreary night out in Nashville on Tuesday, but as far as Lana Del Rey was concerned it was dead of summer inside Bridgestone Arena as she brought her LA To The Moon Tour to the Music City. Lana draws an eclectic and devoted crowd of all ages. The kind of fans that scream every word and somehow find ways to put interpretive dance like choreography to even her slowest of songs. Was I describing myself just now? Possibly.
Lana has never exactly been the typical pop star, nor has she ever really wanted to be. She’s always a little more shy and reserved than other women in mainstream music, but she’s learned to use that elusiveness to her advantage and this show was a prime example of that and moreover, how far she’s come since her 2012 mainstream debut.
Past tours have usually been regaled to smaller, theatre type venues, but with her first solo arena tour she’s proved she can command major venues as well — a testament to her growing star power. Visually, she largely kept her show in a comfortable place, forgoing major theatrics in favor of a more traditional set up; the stage populated with palm trees, beach chairs and rocks formations emulating the west coast, while her past music videos and crashing waves flashed across the back screen.
Following an impressive set from opener Kali Uchis, Lana took the stage dressed like Wednesday Adams if you dipped her glitter and gave her a Vegas residency. “They say you can never have too many sparkles in Nashville,” she said coyly with a wink. Her vocals have only flourished with time and were on full display throughout her 95 minute set. She opened with Lust For Life fan favorite “13 Beaches,” before segueing into past hits from all of her past records like “Born To Die,” “Blue Jeans,” “Pretty When You Cry,” “Ride,” “National Anthem,” and “Summertime Sadness.” A lot of the lyrics, especially from “Ride,” took on a newer emotional meaning in the wake of her recent issues with the band Radiohead. There was an anger and bitterness that came across at points, and if it wasn’t directed towards them, it was certainly directed towards someone. This was something the audience picked up on and championed.
She gave a tribute to the recent Women’s March with a verse of “God Bless America — And All The Beautiful Women In It,” and served up a medley of “Change,” “Black Beauty,” and Great Gatsby theme “Young And Beautiful.” Overall, the set came off very organic, almost like she was picking some of the songs at random. One of the show’s best moments came when at one point she said “We don’t know what to do next,” before taking requests from the audience which eventually led into a surprise rendition of older favorite “Body Electric.” The song hadn’t been rehearsed and she noted with a laugh that she “didn’t even know the words.” It took the band a few minutes to get into the groove and she let the audience start it off, but she quickly took over and brought the song to its full fruition.
Where some artists and bands struggle to ever truly connect with their crowd, Lana, on the other hand, excels as a master of intimacy with her audience. There was an undeniable electric and vulnerable connection she had with the room that made the arena seem much smaller than it really was, and seeing someone bring together the crowd like she did just proved why we shouldn’t ever count her out.