It is difficult to sum up just how excited I was for this gig. The tickets sold out in twelve seconds. The fact that I managed to get tickets to see Lana Del Rey’s first London show in four years was amazing and made the gig feel much more intimate and special. With Brixton Academy holding less than five thousand people it truly felt like we were in a small room with Lana.
I have to start this review by mentioning the way Lana and her team set the scene, the stage set was created in true Lana Del Rey style with a retro movie theatre backdrop, large green curtains framing a screen which projected images of herself and her previous music videos. ‘Del Rey’ was written in glowing letters above her, with greenery and plants hanging from the ceiling alongside long, silver streamers. An aesthetically pleasing contradiction of a rundown 1950’s cinema and an exclusive strip club. The stage was revealed as the black curtain concealing it dropped and Lana casually walked out to screaming fans.
She began her set with Cruel World from her 2014 album ‘Ultraviolence’, the distinctive twangy guitar intro to the song was a perfect start to the show with the build up of a thudding drumbeat increasing the excitement of the crowd. The audience was electric, absolutely everyone was unbelievably happy to be there, the suspense was palpable before she stepped foot on stage.
I have to add that Lana looked effortlessly cool in dark jeans, a long sleeve black top and red sling-back heels, with her signature bouffant hairstyle and winged eyeliner. The casual, late-notice show was represented in her outfit but this just made the gig feel that much more unique.
Lana made the audience aware of which song was coming up next, I liked this style as most of the audience were clearly very big fans and knew every word of each song anyway but this helped bump up the buzz. Del Rey’s second song was ‘Cherry’ from her new album ‘Lust for Life’, personally one of my favourites. She did not let us down with her haunting vocals, sounding even better than the recorded version of each song. The ‘Lust for Life’ album was released only three days before the show, however, most of the crowd knew every word to her newest songs which was truly spectacular.
For fans of her older music and albums, this was a fantastic show, with most of the music being from her ‘Born to Die’, ‘Ultraviolence’ and ‘Paradise’ records. Lana also performed ‘Serial Killer’ an unreleased track. However, for those who were looking forward to hearing a lot of her latest album live this was not the case. Lana sang ‘Cherry’ and ‘White Mustang’ with the full production of her band and backing dancers. The request from the crowd was for ‘In My Feelings’ which she did not have prepared but she did not disappoint and did an A cappella version of half the song. The final song from ‘Lust for Life’ was ‘Love’, arguably one the most well-known songs from the album after the title track. ‘Love’ was also performed A cappella, displaying Lana Del Rey’s impressive vocal range.
Click here to view: In My Feelings
Click here to view: Love
To end the show, Lana announced that ‘Off to the Races’ would be her final song of the night. This came as a slight shock to the audience as we were expecting the show to last for at least another twenty minutes. However, ‘Off to the Races’ was well received, she danced alongside her two identical backing dancers, with horses galloping past her in the background. The audience sang every word back to her and cheers erupted throughout Brixton Academy as she left the stage.
Click here to view: Off to the races
It was an unforgettable show; I can confidently say I am an even bigger Lana Del Rey fan since seeing her live for the first time. For those who critique her live vocals I have no criticisms to make as I think her range is impressive and compliments her tracks very well.
I attended the gig with two of my friends whom I asked a few questions, to see what their impression of the one-off show was:
- What was your favourite part/song of the show?
Jordan: My favourite part was the A capella version of love she did, because a lot of people say she can’t sing very well but that proved she can, plus I think everyone in the crowd felt a huge connection with her during that moment because it was so stripped back and her voice shone through.
Beth: My favourite song/ part was either cherry or video games because cherry is my favourite of the new album and video games is just classic Lana. Also loved when she sang A Cappella because it’s something very unique and intimate that you rarely get the chance to hear.
- What did you think of the lack of ‘Lust for Life’ songs?
Jordan: It was disappointing that she didn’t at least do the title track and maybe ‘Summer Bummer’, even though they are features Lana is so cinematic I’m sure during that part of the song something could be shown on the backdrop. I’m still happy with the songs she performed from ‘Lust For Life’ though, and I think if she hadn’t performed as many older songs as she did fans would be disappointed because she doesn’t tour that often. Although the addition of serial killer (one of her unreleased songs from like 5 years ago) could’ve been replaced with something new!!
Beth: Although I would have liked to have heard a couple more from L4L especially the title track, the lack of them gave more opportunity to hear some of her old stuff which I have been listening to for years which was amazing and hopefully I’ll have the chance to hear some more L4L in the future.
- Overall feelings of the gig?
Jordan: It was amazing; I just wish her set was longer!
Beth: Overall it was so incredible it is almost beyond words and I will always feel incredibly lucky I was able to attend such an intimate and personal show. If I wasn’t obsessed before I certainly am now.
If you enjoyed this article make sure to check out our review of ‘Lust For Life’ here.