The lights at Rogers Arena dim and the whole arena is alive. A soft piano ballad plays and echoes throughout the air bringing silence to the crowd. Fairy lights above are shining on the two dancers that just came on stage and sat elegantly on top of the piano. The stage lights fade in following the one and only Lana Del Rey as she finally steps on stage. She swiftly moves to the front of the stage smiling and waving to familiar fans below as the rest of the stage is now fully illuminated. ‘Yes Vancouver!’ she says before beginning her dreamy and glamorous show.
Lana Del Rey has been around since the beginning of the decade after releasing her two hit songs ‘Video Games’ and ‘Blue Jeans’ in 2011 which was followed by her first major-label album ‘Born to Die’ in 2012. She was first known for her sad girl personna which had gotten her a lot of criticism since her style was much different than the major pop artists of that time. Lana Del Rey however did not let all the criticism affect her career. She continued to release top charting albums and inspired many new up and coming artists with her unique sound. Her new album, ‘Norman F*****g Rockwell’ was named the 19th best album of the decade and earned a Grammy nomination for album of the year. Lana Del Rey is now one of the most influential pop artists of our generation and continues to influence many artists today.
Leg one of Lana’s NFR tour was on the west coast with Vancouver as it’s second stop on September 30, 2019 at Rogers Arena. It was her only arena show of the tour. There was no opening act so the show opened right away with a black screen and the opening lyrics of her song ‘Norman F*****g Rockwell’ being typed out on screen. It was followed by the introduction of the song, a soft piano ballad and Lana walking on stage to an audience of adoring fans.
The setlist included a variety of songs from each album including some of her most well known, ‘Summertime Sadness’ and ‘Young and Beautiful.’ Lana also did a beautiful cover of Joni Mitchell’s song, ‘For Free.’ A few of her most memorable performances of the night include her fun and energetic performance of ‘Doin Time’ or when she was swinging on a swing during ‘Video Games’ where the whole crowd took over the song. It was a surreal moment for myself and the other fans in the crowd because this was one of the songs that introduced us to her including myself. My favourite performance had to be ‘Shades of cool,’ the second last song of the night. It was some of the best vocals she’s done during the whole show which made it such a chilling and beautiful performance. Another memorable thing about the show was the visuals she had in the back of her songs. Visuals are very important to me because it helps bring the songs to life and tells a story. Her visuals include clips of her music videos with a vintage aesthetic also joined by effects of waves and flowers overlapping them. Some of my favourite visuals were in her performances of ‘Bartender,’ ‘Ride,’ ‘Off to the races,’ and ‘Pretty when you cry.’ Lana ended the show with her 10 minute song ‘Venice Bitch’ where she spent her time off stage singing and greeting fans which has become a tradition for Lana to do at all of her shows.
Lana Del Rey has been one of my favourite artists for years so this show is definitely one of my favourites! One of the reasons why her shows will always be some of the best is because of how she manages to interact with her fans much more than any other artist in the industry. She always spends her time signing posters, taking pictures, and collecting gifts that fans bring to her. Her shows also have a great atmosphere and are not overwhelming at all. I’ve been to two of her shows and both had a great calming vibe to them that made it more enjoyable than other shows I’ve been to. Her shows feel very intimate like there is no one else in the room except you and her, and I think that’s why her shows have become very special to so many fans around the world and will continue being something that creates a strong bond between Lana and her fans.