Skip to content

Lorde At Roseland Ballroom, Wednesday, March 12th, 2014, Reviewed

Royalty At Roseland

Royalty At Roseland

It is so addictive.

Lorde introduces “Ribs” off her worldwide smash Pure Heroine by telling the story of being left home alone by her parents and holding a household. She must have been,. what, fifteen at the time? Missing her parents, troubled by the process of growing up, she walked the  streets of Auckland with a boy, “You’re the only friend I need” she sang and on the last night of a sold out and well beyond three night stand at Roseland she dedicated the song to us, the audience.

Because adulation is addictive and, like Lady Gaga before her, she found that after you have started finding growing old crazy and youth a mystery, the call of your peers will sustain you in ways true love never can. Though, like true love, it has a very limited shelf life.

A year ago Lorde knew this, while she may have been referring to the music industry when she claimed “People have treated me like a fascinating toy” last year, it was a much bigger truth than her claim mid show that we “got it”. What do we get?

Or rather,  what do the teenage girls that surround me at Roseland get? Biting down or being bored, the real life exemplifier of her generation considers “Royalty” a question of consumerism and sex a matter of biting lips. And at Roseland, in a fine 70 minute dash through the album plus an excellent cover of Son Lux’s “Easy”, she began to feel comfortable with the craziness.

I arrive at 8:50 and, hey, it’s teenage girls mostly, pushed my may to mid- dance floor for my last ever visit to Roseland and surrounded by teenage girls with cell phones hoisted and sticky sweet perfume I couldn’t see a damn thing. Let’s get this straight right now, Roseland was a terrible place for a concert. I am sure there were people standing close to me who had waited since 4pm to get in and they couldn’t see a thing either. The close cuircuit TV was down for the first three songs and the sea of Iphones hoisted above everyone (including my) head made what few sitelines were avaiable not availble at all.

Also, if I put my arms down I was too close to girls in all directions for comfort. It is to Lorde’s credit that guess what, she was still pretty good. It never fails to amaze me how a 2500 people singing along to a song can change it from a dirge to a hook lined singalong. I waited through the first four songs, all of them more exciting than the recorded version, all easy to sing to. Lorde, when she came into view, was a waif thin body topped by long naturally curly hair. She moved a little woodenly until a beat took her over and then she jerked and twisted her body.

The fifth song was her cover of The Repalcement’s “Swingin’ Party” and by now I was in full retreat and man was it loud on the back. Given the hastle of getting a ticket to the show I was shocked that the great unwashed were so completely ignorant of concert etiqutte as to act as though they were in their living room during an “X Factor” commercial break. So upfront was creepy, in the back was noisy but, hey, what’s that? The close circuit screens were suddenly switched on. And still, half way through the set, and Lorde has been very very good. And I don’t even like her that much.

She was chatty without being a pain, with a Pro-Tools guy and a drummer behind her, she wandered the stage with uneasy ease, the lighning was too low but when she flicked on the switch for her two nig hits near the end, “Royals” and “Team” the effect was dazzling. Lorde’s gifts were on display here. Her youth connects her deeply to her audience not unlike the way Taylor’s used to conenct her to her teenage audience. But the difference is Lorde is both bemused and coolto aging and pressure, she views her world without a certain jaundiced intrepretative notion quite different than Swift’s girl power boy crazy everygirl. It is as if Swift is a member of the Glee club and Lorde the debating team.

Musically, Swift is a pop star and Lorde… well, what is Lorde: a cool outsider. Lorde’s songs use modern techno techniques and throbbing drums that are an ancestor of the entire Bristol dub scene of the 1990s, and between the two the songs are insulated anthems of confusion and rebellion. I don’t liove her music, sometimes I like it but I am not the target audience and her melodies don’t sit well with me; if you listen to Westerberg’s “Swingin’ Party” and compare it to even a really good Lorde song like “Bite It”, the latter can only hook through verbal repetition, the melody doesn’t get you. It leaves me a little surprised but not disheartened by her success.

But there is something about Lorde, her voice is a husky beauty and it enhances a lyrical swerviness which has her laughing so hard it toughens not hurts her ribs, that people, not just kidseither, respond to She was signed to Universal at the age of 13 and while I don’t claim I would have been able to see it, they certainly saw a sort of mix of childishness and depth: it is as if she stands up and apart from her generation. From the teen girls screaming in my ear. She belongs to her generation but her skills pull her apart from them and the music world, who thought teenagers were figments of their imagination after a decade of ambitious boy bands and controversial girltoys, became obsessed with her. She is the outsider who got in.

And on stage, Lorde is enthralled by her inside-outside personality; at Roseland she seemed taken aback by the magnitude of selling out the Hall three nights in a row: “30,000 people” she wildly exaggerates but you get the concept; and you get the musical tightrope and her predicament which finds her an everyone moved to what she rails against: she is, of course, royalty, even if not consumer based royalty as she tours the States in a wild glory of fame. How do you retain your sense of ironic detachment in a world of extreme privilege.

What price Lady Gaga? What price Miley, or Justin, how do you keep your feet on the ground? So far Lorde has done a pretty good job of dealing with success, at least if her celebrity profiles have anything to do with it. While the concert was essentially the album plus “Easy” and while, with two exceptions, the songs were similar to the recorded versions, still it was a smart set that pandered to nobody. I enjoyed her and I don’t even like her very much.

Grade: B

Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

The Curse Of Gov Ball

By Iman Lababedi | June 8, 2023 |

the curse was so eager to ruin another weekend that it caused a worldwide epidemic

Coming Soon: Frank Sinatra’s Final Masterpiece, “She Shot Me Down” Admired In Detail

By admin | June 8, 2023 |

808s And Heartaches But different


By admin | June 7, 2023 |

This Art is a Hammer That Shapes Reality

James Brown’s “Think”! Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | June 7, 2023 |

a hit before it was released.

Why Write For

By admin | June 7, 2023 |

It allows you to be part of the vibrant music community

TKA’s Aby Escoto Still The Sound Of Puerto Rican Dance Forty Years Later

By Iman Lababedi | June 7, 2023 |

the soulfulness of bacata and the moves of, well, of TKA

The Bellwether, A New LA Music Venue, Will Open Next Month!

By Alyson Camus | June 7, 2023 |

“The Bellwether will be the next step for an artist in our LA ecosystem”

Listen To Freestyle and Pop Dance Legend Stevie B’s New Single “Take It All Back” Featuring Pitbull (DJ Sama Remix)

By admin | June 6, 2023 |

Freestyle and Dance iCon Stevie B has recently released his newest single “Take It All Back” featuring multi-platinum recording artist Pitbull and remixed by DJ Sama. A new era of dance music was born when Miami native Stevie B’s first independently released single “Party Your Body” hit South Florida’s glittering club scene in 1987. After…

The Grand Re-Opening Of The Beach Club Estates, Friday, June 2nd, 2023

By Iman Lababedi | June 6, 2023 |

a wonderful refresher

US Top Ten Singles Tracking 5-26-23 – 6-1-23

By Iman Lababedi | June 6, 2023 |

a good year for singles…

Scroll To Top