Lorde hypnotizes Boston with new album


Hunter McKenzie

Lorde performs the song Buzzcut Season at her Melodrama World Tour show, April 3 at TD Garden. She has brought Khalid, Tove Styrke, Mitski and Run The Jewels for her opening acts on her seventy city tour across Europe and North America.

Hunter McKenzie, Arts Columnist

Whenever I attend a concert, the aftermath is the only thing I remember clearly: running up cement staircases into cement garages, holding onto a new t-shirt and sweating. My mind always unable to catch up with itself, spinning from the lights, the sounds and the stage.

These were the events that unfolded after I attended Lorde’s concert April 3 in Boston.

I remember trying to find my car, floating through buzzing crowds of people as we left TD Garden. I see myself twisting through roads, soaked to the bone, driving away from the city,  the dark and stolen residue of the “Melodrama” World Tour in my head and on my car’s speakers.

But the next morning when I scrolled through the photos on my phone, hoping to relive it all, I only found four pathetic, blurry pictures of the entire night. I went to the Notes app, and the first thing I come across, written at 12:06 a.m., said: “Think I passed away during Supercut —  pronounced dead during Green Light.”

Lorde is on a 70-city tour across Europe and North America in support of “Melodrama,” her sophomore album released last June. Along the way, she’s brought Khalid, Tove Styrke, Mitski and Run The Jewels for her opening acts.

It was not my first Lorde show, though this one was very different from my first.

She played in Boston four years ago at the Orpheum, a tiny concert hall, in support of her first album. Lorde and I were only 17 years old. I remember my last-row seating, her gothic, witchy black costuming and the sparse beats of her debut album.

Now, we’re both 21 and she’s upgraded to stadium shows.

This time around, her music is more complex, vibrant and joyful. Her presence is more colorful and sincere, her hair is shorter, straighter.

She played old favorites but highlighted the new album, a total soundtrack of summer, so good that it stayed in my car speakers into fall and winter.

In the Garden, while we stood in up-close floor seats, the room felt as if it were about to be on fire. All the potential power of a sold-out venue swirled in the air: of 19,000 bodies, of their nerves, of impending drama.

Throughout the night, groups of jumping young women held onto one another and middle-aged dudes with guttural Southie accents tried to resist the urge to dance.  Above me, walls of cell phone lights and bobbing heads flooded the arena.

What stayed with me the most was the overwhelming experience of the show, how there was so much to see: hazy visuals, fluorescent lights, the minimal design of the stage.

There was a crew of dancers clad in white, who engaged in an emotional kind of modern dancing, physical and interactive, in a large, glass box suspended in the air above us.

All of it was anchored by Lorde’s consuming performance, committed to throwing herself into every moment, thrashing and dancing around the empty stage.

Her ability to hypnotize the room was intense. In one moment, she had the room silent and crushed, crooning out the fragile “Liability,” only to pivot the mood with the surging “Green Light.”

She demanded we dance out everything inside of us, ravenous, drenching our shoulders purple in neon.

At the end of the show, cannons shot confetti into the air, which, when caught and shoved into pockets to awe over later, reads in handwritten scribbles and grade-school romantic doodles: “Just another graceless night” and “Melodrama forever.”

It’s the little moments like this that attach a sense of sincerity and intimacy to the show, elevating it above the typical pop-star extravaganza.

Lorde’s tour continues until April 15. She will finish the North American leg in Nashville. “Melodrama” is available on most streaming services.