The 17-year-old New Zealander sang with the hair-swinging abandon of somebody who is either too old to care or too young to know better. It made for one heck of a show. If she is a dark siren carrying the gravitas of past-life heartbreak, she is a hearty one—emoting with full voice and broad, physical strokes, hands swirling in time, like a conductor. For the last two songs (“Team” and “A World Alone”), this black moth re-emerged as a gold-lamé butterfly in a flowing gown. The girl whose lyrics promised We’ll never be royals, was reigning as queen. Her performance contrasted with that other Coachella-to-Vegas songstress, the flaccid Lana del Rey.
Like most out-of-towners who play the Boulevard Pool, Lorde was entranced by the scenery of the Strip (“I’m singing on a hotel in Vegas! I can see the place where they filmed Ocean’s 12, I mean Ocean’s 11!”). The chanteuse who sang We live in cities you’ll never see onscreen in “Team,” was, at heart, an excited young tourist.
Instead of the usual concert live stream, ads looped on the Cosmo’s marquee. When the stage was all murky gloom, the candy-colored ads distracted and detracted from the concert experience. But every so often, the ad for Lorde—pictured as a perfect goth china doll—would coincide with the real-life whirling dervish of twisted yearning accentuated by fog machines and strobe lights. Truth was better than advertising, at least this once. ★★★★✩