New Zealand’s Lorde drew an appropriately unique crowd to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Thursday night. Despite her 17 years, the youngster’s fan base now famously transcends generations (or at least her first record did). For S.B., that meant a general admission area teeming with nuclear families and swingin’ singles alike.
“You guys are pretty cool, aren’t you?” said Lorde, draped in one of several dramatic costumes she’d sport throughout her hour-and-a-half-long set. It’s the type of thing artists say when they perform, though it was hard to ignore a particular air of resonance within the statement, either because she meant it or because the crowd believed her more than they normally do.
“I feel like we’re just hanging out,” the singer exclaimed.
Lorde at the Santa Barbara Bowl
All of that said, it’d be wrong to declare Lorde’s performance anything short of great. Songs like “Royals,” “Team,” and “Tennis Court” were all fully delivered on, complete with special live-band musical variations. “Royals” in particular was a set highlight, as the foundation of the song beautifully utilized the voices of the crowd as an impromptu backup choir. Set and costume changes abounded (I think there were five), though transitions were made hardly noticeable thanks to the deployment of smoke-filled bubbles (and a Kanye West sing-along). Truthfully, it’s difficult to imagine how the show could have been more demanding of the unceasingly charismatic Lorde.