**Editor’s Note: Rachel and I usually write the posts together, but she started the initial draft this time and her experience was so intimate and personal, that I didn’t want to change it. Plus, she pretty much hit the nail on the head. – Alicia**
When Alicia and I arrived at Roseland Ballroom, Lo-Fang was already doing his thing so we quickly checked our coats, grabbed some drinks and started making our way through the crowd. So many people! Every single time I go to a standing room only concert, I remind myself how much I hate standing room only concerts. But tonight was different. Tonight was a nostalgic night. In less than a month, the historical Roseland Ballroom will be closing down with a series of sure-to-be epic concerts by Lady Gaga. I caught myself drifting in and out of Lo-Fang’s set in near tears looking around and thinking about how much I would miss this venue. I have a personal attachment to it; you could say we’re BFF’s. I performed with my dance aerobics class in this building during a Relay-for-Life event; Sesame Street held their open-call auditions here for what would be the show’s newest cast member; and most memorably, I stood in line for 14 hours to see the “4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé” concert on opening night (worth it because my sweet little face made it onto the DVD, I also couldn’t have been any closer to her if I tried). Roseland and I have a history.
From the bar, to the upstairs dressing rooms, to the unused kitchen behind the stage, to the coat check stalls on the ground level, Roseland is a New York City staple. I felt like I had a connection with this venue and tonight was sure to be an emotional one. When Lorde took the stage and started singing, “there’s a humming in the restless summer air,” I could already feel my future-self telling my grandchildren about this very moment.
Up until this point, I’d never given Lorde an actual full listen. I knew “Royals” and that’s where my background ended. Facts: my sisters are fans, my friends are fans, the world is one big conglomerate of Lorde fans and I am an idiot. Even though she was sick – which was only noticeable by her pre-show tweets and her cup of tea on stage – there was an undeniable consensus in the room: Lorde was killing it. With only her percussionist and keyboardist on stage, she breezed through all of the songs from her album, Pure Heroine, and a few extras. Her customary spastic dance moves were extremely evident during “Easy (Switch Screens),” and I felt like my heart, eyes and soul were going to bum-rush the stage. I quickly became angry with myself for not being an actual fan prior to entering the building. I felt like I was being held captive by her talent, stage presence, vulnerability and lyrics. During “Still Sane” I started bawling for no other reason than being overwhelmed. I stood in place, waiting for something to happen that would knock me out of my trance and it never came (still in it TBH).
This crowd was such a mix and mess of folks (dads with daughters, models, drunk underage girls, A&R teams, young lovers on a date), but we were all in a constant state of wide-eyed alertness and awe. How could someone so young and small perform on such a large stage and dominate a sold out crowd in such a dramatic way? Her cover of “Swinging Party” overpowered us the same way her big-sound upbeat songs like “Tennis Court” and “Royals” did. This was everything I’ve ever wanted in a live show. Beautiful instrumentation, lyrical connection, vocal realness and fan engagement. After following Lorde on every social networking site and downloading her album, I finally feel like I’m home. Thank you Roseland. Thank you Lorde.
RCS’ Takeaway: THE STROBE-LIKE LIGHTS NEARLY GAVE ME A STROKE. NEEDED SUNGLASSES. #butworthit
Alicia’s Takeaway: See my editor’s note. Unlike Rachel, I was already a fan of Lorde before we went to the concert. “Swinging Party” is my new favorite song of hers; and while the single on iTunes doesn’t have half of the emotional heaviness of which she performed, the memory of her singing this song live makes up for it when I listen to it. Lo-Fang is legit. For someone who grew up in the ‘80s, his voice sounds a little like David Gahan of Depeche Mode, so of course, I loved it.