Lorde at the Santa Barbara Bowl

New Zealand Star Brings ‘Solar Power’ Tour to Santa Barbara

Credit: Thomas Long

New Zealand-based singer and songwriter Lorde performed the final North American show of her Solar Power tour at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday, May 7. At the beginning of her set, the singer reflected on her last visit to the Bowl, which was when she was 18, following the release of her debut album Pure Heroine.

The stage and wardrobe designs were reminiscent of a 70’s mod style, with light wood, ascending and descending staircases, and the band clad in yellow jumpsuits. The focal point of the stage was a large staircase atop a rotating platform, which doubled as a makeshift sundial as light shined against it. A giant planet-shaped orb projected on the back of the stage changed colors during the show. Lorde would often pause between songs to sit on the staircase and converse with the audience as if it were a coffee date with an old acquaintance. “How are you; Have you been doing well?” she would ask, her voice low, husky, and hypnotic.

Her opening number, “Leader of a New Regime,” began with the singer silhouetted from inside a drum-like circle at the stairway’s base. From this track to “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” Lorde was dressed in a silk, purple suit, with a metallic purple bralette shining underneath, her eyes adorned with tiny purple and blue crystals. Most of the set was from the album Solar Power, which Lorde wrote in seclusion. The songs on the album reflect her desire to step back from the world’s chaos and tune out. She deleted social media, spent most of her days at home and off her phone, and then released the record at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The set felt like a playlist delicately curated by an old friend, with tranquil numbers from Solar Power carrying Lorde into intimate and, at times, angst-filled tracks from Pure Heroine and Melodrama. Before beginning one of her most known and well-loved songs, “Ribs,” she reminded the audience of when she wrote it. “I wrote this song when I was 15,” she said. “I want you to be your 15-year-old self right now.” 


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