Lana Del Rey at BST Hyde Park
Lana Del Rey was due to tour Europe in 2019 but was forced to cancel because of illness. Then came Covid. Four years and three albums later, the enigmatic artist has at last been warmly welcomed back to our shores. Following her second stint at Glastonbury, the chanteuse now brings her old Hollywood, Americana-swathed persona to London, closing this year’s BST Festival in style with a sold-out set.
An extended instrumental opening notches up the tense anticipation that envelopes Hyde Park before the pulsating, infectious riff of A&W ushers the singer on stage. We soon shift to Young and Beautiful – the crowd’s singing almost drowning out a visibly humbled Del Rey. The charmingly old-school Bartender follows. Chemtrails Under the Country Club, with its almost haunting melody, hypnotises the vast audience, Del Rey’s adlibbing about the demise of a past relationship prompting supportive cheers. The Grants’ gospel-infused chorus is well suited to live performance and invites a euphoric energy. Cherry has the crowd belting out the chorus. The glorious Ride feels impassioned and anthemic: one of many highlights in a set that truly encapsulates each era of the star’s output.
Born to Die serves as a reminder of just how much the artist has grown both vocally and in her performance prowess, and the song unites the fervent crowd even further. Del Rey’s other early number Blue Jeans arouses a sincere sense of joy. Ballads Norman Fucking Rockwell and Arcadia showcase the singer’s startling vocal dexterity, while the moody Ultraviolence simply entrances.
Latest single Candy Necklace finds the singer perched on a piano as she wistfully croons. Diet Mountain Dew is given a slightly funky edge and amended lyrics. Summertime Sadness galvanises an already hyped crowd before we return to the artist’s most recent output once more. Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd has everyone waving their arms before Del Rey closes the evening with the revered Video Games – the debut single that first put her on the map back in 2012. It’s a nostalgia-tinged, emotive end to proceedings, which sees Del Rey sat on a swing, casual and carefree as she glides back and forth. It could feel gimmicky, but for Lana, it simply works and exemplifies the alluring aesthetic of an artist who does things on her own terms and plays by her own rules.
Embodying ethereal otherworldliness with accessibility is an art, yet Del Rey manages to flitter between the two with ease. Posing for selfies with her fans one moment and pensively projecting brooding lyrics the next, the songstress at times seems to poke fun at the mystique that surrounds her. With cinematic video visuals and precise choreography from a troop of dancers, Del Rey’s show provides both spectacle and substance. Delighting her fans and exhibiting her genuine gratitude to them, the artist appears to be having as much fun as her supporters. A carefully considered, well-judged and skilfully executed evening that proves Del Rey is as talented as she is intriguing.
Photo: Dave Hogan
For further information and future events visit Lana Del Rey’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Candy Necklace here: