Lana Del Rey Reminds Way Out West Who’s Boss: Concert Review
In Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg, 30,000 people are scrambling to reach the main stage at Way Out West, one of Europe’ most popular music festivals. Food booths, VIP sections and bars (yes, even the bars) are virtually abandoned in favor of the festival’s last act, Lana Del Rey. Not bad for a girl who rose to fame with a self-directed, viral Internet clip for “Video Games”—a single that birthed a star, changed the landscape of indie music and baroque pop, and fueled more think pieces than one can keep track of.
Del Rey is riding high off of the fumes of her most recent album, Lust for Life, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The positive critical reception and commercial performance is a noteworthy feat for an artist who decided to depart from her vast yet partially formulaic sound and themes (toxic romantic relationships, Hollywood glamor, drugs and booze, etc.) for a fresh, more upbeat sonic landscape.
America’s facing turbulent times, and Del Rey’s striving hard to become a voice of hope in where we’re heading, as well as for where we once were. It’s hard to break away from a creative process and overall vibe that’s fashioned one of our generation’s most iconic performers, let alone to make that sell. But if anything was made clear on Saturday night (August 12), it was that the singer's fans were as head over heels for the new goods as her classics.
Thankfully, she performed it all. She played only three of her new tracks (“Cherry,” “Love” and “Change”), focusing instead on a set list that allowed her frenzied audience—whose dedication and fanaticism has become renowned, not to mention overwhelmingly palpable in a live setting—to revisit her repertoire from start to finish. Other fan favorites included “Video Games,” “Ride,” “Blue Jeans” and “Born To Die,” a track that Del Rey said “she’d been waiting to play [to the crowd] for months.”
Unlike her early years, in which the star’s nerves led to infamously disastrous performances and a hell of a lot of mockery, Del Rey has totally mastered her shows. She did not miss a single note and carried herself with a cheery, playful disposition, appearing 100% at ease and completely genuine when sharing her love for the audience, even pointing out die hard fans with “familiar faces” that she recognized.
In turn, the crowd reciprocated, cheering jubilantly as Del Rey walked off the stage to spend five minutes taking selfies with the first row, a tradition she’s kept alive at most festival performances. Sporting a flowing, flouncy white dress reminiscent of the '70s, the pop star was all smiles as she hugged fans who were, more often than not, crying profusely.
Perhaps it was because she’s sitting pretty at the top of the charts, or maybe it was because she was headlining one of Europe’s largest cultural gatherings, or possibly it was simply the energy of 30,000 fans singing her own lyrics back at her each time she stopped to catch her breath, but there was one overwhelming feeling in the crowd by the end of the show: Lana Del Rey has nothing left to prove, and she finally knows it.
Lana Del Rey's Most Enchanting Stage Looks: