Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

The thing is, Lorde wasn’t supposed to be here.

These were her own words. According to the New Zealand-born artist, she had no plans to be in front of crowds at this point in the summer. But when she took the stage for her headlining slot at Oslo’s Øya Festival during golden hour on Wednesday, August 9th, she revealed that she just loves performing in Norway so much that she went quite a bit out of her way to bring what she’s dubbed the “Night Vision edition of ‘The Solar Power Tour’” to the event.

Sporting bleach blonde hair and a super-cropped white button-down, Lorde stepped onstage to a rapturous audience, the packed crowd sloping uphill and disappearing into the horizon in the lush, green Tøyenparken. It wasn’t hard to see why Lorde loves performing here. Beyond the fact that Øya Festival is undeniably blissful — a wooded oasis in an already lovely city — the Norwegian audience clearly adores her.

The set began with “Royals,” a reasonable and smart choice for a festival opener, but the transition into “Solar Power,” the second song on the setlist, was notably seamless. These two songs, in the scope of Lorde’s canon, couldn’t be more different; however, thanks to some production re-working and smooth live magic, one simply cascaded into the next. As the local crowd sang along to both songs in equal measure, it was clear that Lorde was taking them on a journey not just with a new flow, but a new direction entirely.

To make Pure Heroine, Melodrama, and Solar Power work cohesively in one setlist was no small feat. Lorde’s first two albums felt somewhat akin to one another in all their adolescent self-discovery and tortured moodiness; after taking some deserved time to herself, the singer-songwriter returned with 2021’s Solar Power, a decidedly acoustic and introspective effort. Listeners were divided when it came to the album, as the record wasn’t quite what people were expecting and, in the scope of live performance, definitely wasn’t music built for dancing.

Lorde knew this, which is why much of her “Solar Power Tour” was a more muted, deliberate affair. But at Øya Festival, she signaled that she’s back in the mood to dance. Perhaps this was part of the reason the cuts from her most recent project were re-worked for these new shows, but it’s also just as possible that Lorde designed the sonic return to form for herself, realizing that a smoother flow between projects would be to the benefit of the almighty set — and whatever comes next. Whatever the reason, it very much worked; the only two tracks selected from Solar Power, “Mood Ring” and the album’s title track, didn’t jump out as glaringly different as they might have without the tweaks made to the live versions.

Of her three LPs, Melodrama had the most representation during her hour onstage. The audience wailed along with her as she fell to her knees during “Liability;” one fan passionately called out, “Lorde, marry me,” after she sang through the promises held in “Homemade Dynamite.” European festivals tend to carry a different kind of energy than events in the US, the latter of which all too often put the focus on seeing to be seen — even despite that cultural difference, it’s worth noting how few people had their phones out during Lorde’s set. (This writer is 5’2″, so it’s always tragically noticeable when people stick their cameras above eye level.) Instead, this crowd was particularly in the moment.

By Sandra Winters

Writer | Author | Wordsmith Passionate about crafting stories that captivate and inspire. Published author of [Book Title]. Dedicated to exploring the depths of human emotions and experiences through the power of words. Join me on this literary journey as we delve into the realms of imagination and uncover the beauty of storytelling.