Monday, June 1, 2015

The Endless Summer Tour | Lana Del Rey with Grimes



The thermometer read 48 degrees in Clarkson, Michigan on Monday; nevertheless, the outdoor DTE Energy Music Theatre was packed with nearly 15,000 people, all waiting for Lana Del Rey to take the stage as part of her (ironically titled) Endless Summer Tour.

Canadian synthpop artist Grimes took the torch from Courtney Love, who opened for the few handful of dates for the tour, as the supporting act for the remaining dates. Her high-energy set was well-received by some (including a set of girls that lost their shit to "Oblivion" and "REALiTi") and completely ignored by others (including another set of girls that took selfies through the entirety of one song before stomping back out of the venue for refreshments). She garnered the most attention during "Genesis," one of her most popular tracks among mainstream audiences.

Grimes hunched over her control boards to mark cues of individual song elements, looking like an unconventional disc jockey in a plaid skirt and over-sized jacket. While her reverberated microphone rendered her voice nearly inaudible underneath her heavy production, she and her backup dancers were still filled with energy. She growled and shouted with excitement, as if a demon had possessed the jittery young woman, at the core of each song.

After Grimes' set, most of the empty seats were taken by their respective ticket holders. As Del Rey walked on stage in a sheer, fluorescent green dress, she sent a spark of energy into the crowd. The first verse of he first number, "Cruel World," sent all of us spectators to our feet, and we remained standing for the remainder of her 13-song set. (The set list seemed short, but quality trumped quantity here; minus the absence of "Ride" and "National Anthem," it was a perfect combination of her catalog.) Her stage was adorned with building facades and a city skyline, giving the jumbo screens the appearance of a Lana-filled sky. On certain cues, the building windows and an incandescent sign (simply reading "Del Rey") would flash as a subtle light-show.

The cold temperatures did not deter fans from making the show seem like any other summer festival show. Underneath layers of coats and blankets, we still donned flower crowns, flannels, and Chuck Taylor sneakers. As time passed, artificial fog and the smell of marijuana (and the smell of cigarettes, after Del Rey lit up a quick smoke while covering Lenord Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2") drifted through the cold air. Most importantly, we were all well-connected with the sultry songstress; from newer material ("Shades of Cool," "West Coast") to the LDR classics ("Video Games," "Born To Die"), not one song passed by without us fans singing right along with her.

Del Rey's stage manner has transformed from awkward, twirling mumbler to a soft-spoken yet radiant songstress. Her gawky Saturday Night Live performance is now a insignificant dot in the rear-view mirror, and she is able to soar her way through her sets with ease nowadays. She is still a woman of few words aside from her music, which gives her an enigmatic presence, but her face lights up when she comes near her loving audience members; partway through the show, she stopped the show to take selfies with fans in the VIP standing pit in front of the stage. As someone who has followed her since 2011, I couldn't be happier (or prouder) to see her live performance metamorphosis.

The Endless Summer Tour will continue through June 16, 2015. Tickets for the remaining dates can be found at Ticketmaster.




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