LANA DEL REY
O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON
The hypnotic Lana Del Rey hit the stage of O2 Academy Brixton with such class and dignity... she's an artist in her own field and lane... there is simply no-one around like her and at her sold-out show in Brixton, she proved exactly that.
She graced the stage with 'Ultraviolence' album opener 'Cruel World' and descended her way through her hour (and a bit set) performing a variety of greatest hits and album tracks which surprised us quite a bit as we were kinda expecting her to primarily focus on the new record 'Lust For Life' but instead we were treated to old faves like 'Video Games,' 'Blue Jeans' and 'Summertime Sadness.' Now to the casual reader, you may think to yourself "but those are some of her biggest hits, of course she'd perform them" but for an artist like Lana Del Rey, who doesn't perform that often (albeit it'd been her first London show in four years), the unexpected is usually expected... we had this notion that she would be like a Kate Bush figure and just perform the entire new album in it's form and not even make a hint at her older tracks... so we were surprised... but we knew we were going to be.
Lana's voice is through the roof... she's like this tortured soul in an angel's body and her voice gives that character... she sang an audience suggestion of 'In My Feelings' absolutely acapella because the band didn't have the track prepared, she sang the entire 'Love' acapella because she didn't know the arrangement well enough and she also sang an unreleased, leaked track 'Serial Killer,' now don't get us wrong, the tracks a bop.. but in a field of music that Lana has, it was a rather unusual choice... then again, this is Lana Del Rey.
The one surprise on the setlist came from 'Ride.' The track is one of our favorite Lana tracks as it's all kinds of epic and cinematic and if Blanche DuBois were a singer... this would be her... it incorporates all her sadness and perils in a song. Lana strutted her way through the song in her sad, melancholy way and the song was transposed to this beautiful, live setting. She slowed it a down a little bit, but even still... the track is a cinematic hemisphere of a song and it deserved the live staging Lana gave it. It led beautifully into 'Ultraviolence,' which gagged us a little bit when the entire audience joined in on the spoken verse and then transposed into new track 'White Mustang,' which also has this cinematic appeal to it as Lana stood before a white screen of horses running through water... the track has such an undertone of sadness as Lana pleas for her musician lover to change his groupie ways.
Now we love Lana, but we were sad about ONE thing... we wanted an entire extra hour of the show. She performed for over an hour and whilst she performed a lot of her popular singles, she did not perform 'West Coast' or anything from the 'Honeymoon' record, which broke our hearts a little bit and obviously we wanted some random album tracks too... like 'Old Money,' 'Yayo,' 'Get Free,' but we realize as we write this that our list is endless and it'd probably have been a four hour set, if we had our way... She ended the show on 'Off To The Races' which had a campy little dance routine, and as she blew kisses to the crowd... she disappeared from the stage as quickly as she had arrived onto it and promised it wouldn't be as long next time she would be back... we bloody hope so Elizabeth Grant... we want to see you at least once a year... until then, we'll keep relying on the kindness of strangers.