Lorde Solar Power

LIVE: Lorde – O2 Academy, Birmingham, 30/05/2022

The first thing you wonder as a live show with Lorde approaches is… how the hell is she going to mix together those three disparate albums released over 9 years? She says of ‘Ribs’, from Pure Heroine “I was 15 when I wrote this song” and considering her age when that debut album came out in 2013 it’s a fair, if a bit of an obvious, question.

The answer? Well… it doesn’t matter. Not only does she talk about all her songs with equal passion, from the opening number Ella Yelich-O’Connor draws you into her thrall and never lets you go. With what should come across as really stilted staging the New Zealander actually takes you into the drama of her show, and it is supremely effective, giving each song a theatrical edge that few live shows have. To help picture the scene, there’s essentially a bit of a circle, a bit like a giant bass drum, with a ladder perched on top of it, and throughout “Act 1” Lorde and her band take different positions for each song, moving around in darkness between them. It’s fascinating to watch and brings a real unexpected edge to the first part of the show. Throwing in huge songs like ‘Homemade Dynamite’ and ‘Stoned At The Nail Salon’ make it one of the most thrilling starts to a show for a long time. 

As the shows goes on Lorde gets looser with the staging, spending more time chatting to the interesting mix of young and trendy, and middle aged and trying to be trendy who are in attendance. That pacing of the set and the slow movement from the relative darkness and staid setting of the early songs, through the brighter lighting and freer setting of “Act 2” with ‘California’, ‘The Louvre’, and the excellent coupling of ‘Liability’ and ‘Secrets From A Girl (Who’s Seen It All)’, are genius. 

The whole set lasts just under two hours and crescendos with a confetti pumping ‘Solar Power’ and mosh-inducing ‘Green Light’. By that point the obligatory encore is almost pointless; except it contains ‘Royals’ and ‘Team’ which are sung so loudly by the Birmingham crowd that you can barely hear Lorde herself. And wow, the crowd. It’s been a long time (forgetting the COVID snap on live music) since a crowd has made that much noise from the beginning to the end of a show. It goes to show, critics can pontificate on how her third album, 2021’s Solar Power, isn’t that great, but Lorde’s fans are showing that they totally disagree, with the new songs, old songs, and songs from 2017’s Melodrama all being received with the same gusto.

A terrific night with a terrific artist singing her own terrific songs.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.