“I see myself as such a mess, so cluttered full of emotions and dreams and … it gets pretty messy in here sometimes … I’m not always the easiest person to love, you know? But that’s who I am,” Lorde said, before asking thousands in TD Garden last Tuesday to sing her song “Writer in the Dark” from her most recent album “Melodrama” (2017) with her. In that moment, Lorde claimed that loving her wasn’t easy, but as the thousands of fans cheered, screamed and danced along with her at the Boston stop on her Melodrama World Tour, it was clear she’s quite wrong.
The concert had two opening acts: Mitski and Run the Jewels. At first glance, it’s questionable how these artists ended up with Lorde. After listening to their sets, however, their similarities to the New Zealand star became clear. Mitski has a unique, soothing voice, and Run the Jewels played songs that made TD Garden feel like a club. From her first song, Lorde encompassed the same things, beginning with her odes to adolescent house parties, “Sober” and “Homemade Dynamite,” and flowing into previous suburban-based hits from her 2013 album “Pure Heroine.” She also covered some songs from other artists like Frank Ocean, almost as if she were curating a playlist for the audience to jam to at this concert-turned-party. Arguably the best moment was when she came back on stage for an encore with a miniature soundboard to play “Loveless.”
The concert wasn’t just focused on Lorde, though. The stage featured a cage that could lift off the ground and tilt. Dancers, sometimes acting out different scenes, moved around in the cage, acting out scenes to match the songs Lorde was singing. It was like watching something theatrical, something more like a music video than a concert. Lorde herself got in the cage to change her outfit in between “Ribs” (2013) and “The Louvre” (2017).
The concert had euphoric highs, with Lorde showcasing her iconic, wild dance moves while backing dancers performed under bright and flashing lights. There were also solemn, individual moments like “Liability;” it almost felt like the audience should turn away. It felt like an invasion of privacy, like Lorde was showing her deepest self to Boston. Showing audiences her different sides is nothing new, but she went a step further with the use of colors and lights throughout the concert.
Lorde has sound-to-color synesthesia, which allows her to see specific colors when certain notes are played. She’s confirmed that synesthesia helps her create her albums and has suggested that listeners can see the colors through her songs if they listen closely. Accordingly, with each song, the lights on stage projected different colors and combinations, from the blue and purple hues of “Perfect Places” to the greens, blues and pinks of “Magnets” (2015). The light show keyed the audience in on the colors Lorde possibly associates with the songs and made the experience all the more personal.
The moment that most captured the concert and Lorde herself was when she asked the audience to dance and sing with all their might during her break-up anthem “Green Light.” She jumped, flailed and screamed the lyrics with the fans, giving concert-goers their three minutes to perform with her.
Lorde commanded the show with her loud party anthems and her desperate, emotional ballads, but also with her charming personality. From talking about feeling “a kinship with Boston” and joking about catching athlete’s foot from the Celtics, Lorde made audiences laugh in between songs. At one point, she mentioned getting a lobster roll for dinner and asked the audience if that was their dinner plan.
On her Melodrama World Tour, Lorde somehow managed to make TD Garden into an intimate house party. She played fan favorites, dedicated songs to “everyone who grew up in the suburbs,” let fans see her as more than a star and danced like no one was watching. No artist can touch Lorde at her best, and her best could be found right there, sharing her three-act melodrama with everyone.