Lana Del Rey, a queen among mortals, graced The Sylvee with her angelic vocals and incredibly intimate stage presence Monday night.
Doors opened at 7 p.m., but the sheer number of attendees made it take nearly an hour to shuffle through security and inside. After a lovely but unexpected opening act by Haley Bonar — stage name Haley — the crowd was ready for Del Rey. The concert was set to start at 8 p.m., which, granted, was when Haley came on.
Haley’s act was about 25 minutes, but it would be nearly an hour before Del Rey would actually come on. Admittedly, it gave us all time to admire the stage design, complete with two vine-covered swings, several layers of stair-like platforms and a peach tree.
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The moment she came on, the crowd went wild. Immediately, we knew the hour-long wait in 17 degrees with additional windchill and frostbitten ankles were worth it. Byron Thomas, the piano player, followed by the two backup dancers, preceded Del Rey.
She opened with “Norman F–king Rockwell,” the titular track on her album as well as the tour name. Thomas played beautifully and the backup dancers — wow. Stunning. They opened sitting on top of the piano, posed and moving like lounge singers, and it only got better from there. They utilized the swings, waved burning sage, laid on the floor with Del Rey, danced with a crystal ball and were even able to steal the show a few times.
Lana slipped from song to song with barely-there breaks between each. When they weren’t singing along to some of the most iconic lyrics of our time (Who else could open an album with the words “god-damn man child / you f–ked me so good / I almost said ‘I love you’” and make it sound like the most beautiful art you’ve ever heard?), the audience was dead silent, listening hard and longingly to the music.
Del Rey ticked her “t”’s to “Bartender,” crooned classics like “Summertime Sadness” and “Born to Die,” ate a peach off the tree and handed it to an audience member at one point. Iconic. And when she performed “Ride,” she called out the fact that the bikers from the video were in the audience.
There’s something about Del Rey that is utterly magnetic. She doesn’t exactly have charisma, per se — she doesn’t need it to connect with her audience. Rather than drawing you in with charm or overzealous showmanship, Del Rey seems to perform with no pretenses — just hypnotic melancholia. There was a level of intimacy in The Sylvee I’ve never felt in any concert, despite the 2,499 other people there with me.
She closed with “Venice Bitch,” and the rest of the world was gone. She came off the stage to take pictures with fans in the front row and sign merchandise and tickets, all while singing the sensual melody. No one wanted it to be the last song, but there was no better note on which to end. The guitar riff, dancing and, of course, the singing was all executed beautifully with Del Rey’s famous edgy etherealism.