Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch, NZ
November 8th, 2017
4/5 stars
Reviewed by AARON DAHMEN

Set in the iconic and intimate Isaac Theatre Royal, sold-out of course, Lorde was always going to star.
And star she did.

With electric synthesis and pitch-perfect notes, the girl also known as Ella Yelich-O’Connor wowed Christchurch crowds, accompanied by back-up dancers who only contributed to her already gigantic stage presence.

Generally, music is an experience – where physical meets the spine-tingling, where life meets love.
This was that and so much more.

There aren’t many performers who can command a stage with just their voice, but Lorde is certainly one of them. Yet such talent was explicitly constructed to electrify rather than merely entertain.

It’s just the way she does it.

However, whether you listen to Lorde through headphones or a glitzy orange speaker (like me…), there is nothing that can prepare for watching the electro-pop queen strut her stuff in person. Yeap, that’s her – right in front of me!

Met with much excitement and thrill, the touring album Melodrama has everything classic Lorde plus so much more. And I don’t mean to sound like a Shopping Channel infomercial.

The music icon explores emotions under the skin, crawling up your spine and tingling the deepest of feathers.

After a short but sweet intro from up-and-comers Youmi Zouma, Lorde calmly took her place, excited but measured in approach, before exploding into a fiesta of raw power and instinctive performance. It felt like being thrown from the hot coals into an icy shower, over and over again. But, amidst the musical cacophony, the audience felt refreshed to once again see our very own making it big.

Opening with Homemade Dynamite, there was something about the way Lorde made the stage her own that screamed ‘legend’. And boy did she bring the dynamite.

She talked about her feelings, deep down, where even the closest of friends and family couldn’t see. Brutally true, beautifully real.

Lorde moulded her hit Liability into a transformation of strength while the grand finale of Loveless left the crowd only wanting more.

Featuring a 16-song set, the tracks got fans and even those dragged along by family members or friends, moving to the rhythm.

In fact – although the Isaac Theatre Royal is traditionally a seated venue, Lorde had everyone up against the front hoardings and standing within her first song, trendsetting with that trademark unorthodox dancing style and uncouth arm movement.

Describing it herself as a “nice, cosy vibe”, Lorde made the night her mission to get Christchurch up on their feet and smiling again. It might now be over six years since the quakes, but any opportunity of inspiration or artistic brilliance is always more than welcome.

She acknowledged the theatre as a shoebox in which her dreams and hopes are realised, this “queen-bee” engaging actively in a crowd monologue – willing Christchurch to join her on a journey of self discovery.

In fact, Lorde said it herself: “I am a barely contained spark“, setting the scene for a tour which promises, and delivers so much more variety to her growing artistic palette.

Special, unique and just pure Kiwi class – after a stellar performance in the Garden City, Arise Queen Lorde.

To which the star would likely respond: “My goodness Christchurch, you are so sweet.”