Lorde transformed Allstate Arena (6920 N. Mannheim Road) into her melodramatic world March 27. With the intimacy of a club show and the production quality of an arena tour, Lorde (born Ella Yelich-O’Connor) was able to create a raw, emotional celebration for all involved.
Japanese-American singer-songwriter Mitski and rap duo Run the Jewels opened this show of the Melodrama World Tour. A duo comprised of two dads might not be who audiences would usually expect to open for Lorde, but their fast-paced, electronic beats got the audience involved with hands in the air, phone flashlights swaying and middle fingers up — per the band’s request.
In a flood of blue lights, Lorde began her show with the song “Sober” off her 2017 Grammy-nominated album, “Melodrama.” A line of dancers performed at the front of the stage, entertaining the crowd until the 21-year-old New Zealander revealed herself halfway through the song.
To the delight of fans of her 2013 album “Pure Heroine,” Lorde also played the song “Ribs,” which had fans both jumping to the beat and crying over its honest lyrics.
As the song ended, the artist walked toward the middle of the stage to a giant, rectangular glass tank. She walked inside for a costume change, during which the audience could see her as she removed her clothing. This revealing act tied into the vulnerability and honesty of her music and lyrics.
Lorde went on to perform her 2017 track “The Louvre.” The lyrics of a blossoming relationship were complimented by dancers performing the song’s story. The song’s acoustic guitar intro was a departure from the deep electronic bass heard in many of Lorde’s other songs, but it retained an ethereal feel.
Lorde surprised fans as she performed an a cappella cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown,” paying homage to the Chicago native.
“It must be nice to come from the same place as Kanye West,” she said from the stage.
Lorde went on to talk to the crowd about how excited she was to finally perform “Melodrama” in Chicago. She was scheduled to headline Lollapalooza last year, but her set was cut three songs in due to severe weather.
Sitting on the edge of the tank, Lorde introduced her piano-based ballads “Writer in the Dark” and “Liability.” She said she needed to tell herself she was allowed to be who she is despite criticism and encouraged the crowd to do the same. She incorporated West into her set again by merging his song “Runaway” with the end of “Liability.”
“Green Light,” the lead single from “Melodrama,” was Lorde’s last song before the encore. She encouraged the audience to draw on the song’s emotions of anger, jealousy and excitement and release them during the performance. Fans jumped and danced as confetti stars fell during the last chorus. The dancers held their own party in the tank as it floated above the stage.
For an encore, Lorde returned to the stage to roaring applause to perform her track “Loveless” from “Melodrama,” and an unreleased song, “Precious Metals.”
She closed with her 2013 hit “Team” and ran down along the barricade to hug fans during the chorus.
Lorde’s talent and attention to detail allowed her to craft a unique and dynamic performance. Every detail — from song lyrics on the confetti stars, to the elaborate stage setup — was taken into account. This dedication allowed her to form a relationship with the audience, as she fed off the energy of the fans and vice versa. She commanded the arena, making for a truly unforgettable show.
Lorde’s album “Melodrama” is available on iTunes and Spotify to purchase and stream, respectively.