The Lorde Has Risen: “Solar Power Tour” at Radio City Music Hall

There is nothing like live music to remind us that we are, indeed, wild and fluorescent after all.


A color-changing gleam pointed at the stage’s main set piece, a rotating sundial staircase, accompanied the singer and her band throughout the sold-out performance, which was split into three acts and lasted a total of 95 minutes. Radio City Music Hall swayed and cheered in ecstasy to the shimmering rhythm of Lorde’s newest record, Solar Power, on April 18. “I told myself ‘you better be ready for Radio City,’” Lorde told her New York City audience in her charming New Zealand accent as the lights went down in the theater on Monday night.

As if in a trance, hundreds of attendees lifted their hands up in the air to the blissful sound of “Leader of a New Regime,” followed by “Homemade Dynamite” from her beloved 2017 album “Melodrama” and “Buzzcut Season,” a fan favorite from her debut album “Pure Heroine.”

“Are you ready to cry?” the singer asked the audience, who responded with thunderous cheering and applause. Oh Lorde, were we ready to cry. A collective sigh ensued from the orchestra section in conjunction with the opening lines of “Stoned at the Nail Salon.” “Spend all the evenings you can with the people who raised you,” she professed. “’Cause all the times they will change, it’ll all come around.” With lines like those, it’s evident why Lorde continues to be an unstoppable pop force; her self awareness and perception of her own mortality are such distinctive characteristics of her music. Her unique experimental sound has matured with her, just like her Radio City audience, which was mainly composed of young people in their 20s.

Act II started off with “Fallen Fruit,” “The Path” and “California,” all from “Solar Power,” followed by an ecstatic performance of “Ribs” that almost felt like group therapy. Nothing has ever felt more validating than the entirety of Radio City screaming the lines “I’ve never felt more alone, it feels so scary getting old.” I am convinced that every young adult in the crowd could relate to that feeling all too well. A captivating performance of “Hard Feelings” brought high spirits to the venue, and no, Lorde did not shush the audience.

The second half of Act II began with an unexpected mashup – a beautiful rendition of “Big Star,” a song that she has only performed live twice, followed by a partial cover of Rosalia’s “Hentai” that faded into an emotional arrangement of “Liability,” one of her most intimate pop ballads.

While Lorde would have certainly been able to sell out a larger venue, the smaller dimensions of Radio City Music Hall proved to be the perfect space for a more intriguing and audience-focused approach to the “Solar Power Tour.”

She closed Act II with a gorgeous silhouette moment behind the sundial, followed by a stunning outfit change after performing “Secrets From a Girl (Who’s Seen It All),” another fan favorite from her vibrant new album.

Thousands of surrounding voices sang along to “Mood Ring” while the members of the band positioned themselves on top of the color-changing sundial staircase, which Lorde climbed as if she were ascending into the light. The two next songs – “Supercut” and “Perfect Places” – were from “Melodrama” and, believe it or not, made the venue shake from all the jumping and euphoric dancing. As I screamed the lyrics to one of Lorde’s most beloved bangers while in the city that never sleeps, I was struck by the realization that there is nothing like live music to remind us that we are, indeed, wild and fluorescent after all.

A dazzling performance of “Solar Power” – yellow confetti included – followed by Lorde’s 2018 hit “Green Light,” closed Act III as the roaring crowd cheered and applauded.  Many fans even rushed closer to the stage to snatch a piece of the falling confetti. Lorde quickly went back on stage as the lights dimmed again, and the crowd went even wilder as they recognized the beat of Lorde’s biggest hit, “Pure Heroine’s” “Royals.” The song won two Grammy awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance back in 2014. Lorde closed the encore with another recognizable hit, “Team.”

As I walked back to the lobby of Radio City to meet my friends, the chorus of “Supercut” was still playing in my head. It was then that I realized how blessed we are to witness the comeback of such a sacred and necessary aspect of New York City culture: live music.

Hopefully with this new tour and with so many artists already performing live post-pandemic, many more artists and arts workers will be encouraged to return to the stage – all precautions and safety measures enforced.

With stunning costume changes and meticulously placed stage props, the artist has reimagined the meaning of live performance and production. And Lorde, did she put on a show.

Ladies, begin your salutations. She has risen. Lorde’s “Solar Power Tour” continues in the United States through August. For more information, visit her website.