[click on the photo to see more images on flickr]
Although I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Grant, aka Lana Del Rey, for several years now, at least since the release of her 2014 album Ultraviolence, I have had to be patient about getting my first opportunity to see the sultry singer perform live. Her twenty-song set before encore, which included two medleys, did not disappoint.
Once the band took the stage to Henry Mancini’s “Experiment in Terror” the music suddenly stopped, followed by the opening chords to “13 Beaches,” a transcendent number from her 2017 album Lust for Life. While never forgetting to acknowledge her throngs of adoring fans, which filled the Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, Lana Del Rey consistently kept her audience transfixed as she segued effortlessly from one song to the next, touching upon the span of her five-album career.
What has always been appealing to me about Del Rey’s music style is the way in which she can evoke a by-gone era—such as the 1960s—as though the ambience of those days were just a short drive away in a convertible, somewhere in the Hamptons or Bel Air. In the case of her live performance, Del Rey sang and danced on a stage that referenced her Malibu hideaway in her 2014 video “High by the Beach.” Then for each song, images from her various videos shown on a large screen, which served as an animated backdrop, as she reminded everyone of her exceptional songwriting skills in her now classic songs “Born to Die,” “Ride,” “Summertime Sadness,” and “Ultraviolence.”
The set ended with Del Rey descending into her audience to sign autographs and pose for photos, affirming her appreciation for the people in cities everywhere that make-up her Apocalyptic Chic America who have made her a star. As for me, the show immediately became one of the highlights of my music-going life. In spite of being from different generations, Lana Del Rey’s music has become a part of the soundtrack of my life, not because she makes me feel nostalgic for my youth, but because she makes me feel really good about the here and now, which is filled with gorgeous music and new experiences.