The standard thing at a festival is this: bands play stripped back sets, with little production – even if they’re headlining – because complicated stages and lasers are difficult to set up in a hurry. A week after the release of her second album ‘Melodrama’, Lorde might not have been at the top of the bill nor even on the biggest stage, but she brought a huge production to Glastonbury – in what might be the most conceptual set ever seen in Pilton’s fields.
Making her Glastonbury debut, Lorde arrived on stage to an orchestral, slowed-down version of ‘Green Light’, her recent single – a full, green light-drenched, euphoric version later closed the show.
In between, she gave a masterclass in how to wow a festival crowd. A glass box on stage gradually filled up with dancers as the show progressed, portraying a house party, lifting and tilting on risers like the shifting perception on a big night.
As the show progressed, the human-sized fishtank filled up with dancers – and eventually Lorde entered it herself. It gave the performance the feeling of being a festival show and a piece of theatre, all at the same time – tying in with Lorde’s concept for ‘Melodrama’, an album about breakups set around a house party.
Lorde’s sheer talent and seemingly impeccable career moves can make her seem untouchable, but this show was humanising, Before ‘Liability’, she explained how it was a song about alienation, about feeling like “the biggest loser you know.” She later described herself as “a witch – a good witch”.
The show served to prove something that you might have suspected about Lorde. It’s too easy to compare her to Kate Bush, but each shares the ethos that a simple stage show isn’t an adequate way of representing their world. Lorde is a 20-year-old artist who’s just released her second album. If she’s not headlining this festival within a few years, something’s gone horribly wrong.