we ride the bus with our knees pulled in: lorde in dc

This week I rode the bus to DC to visit with my best friend from college, Christian (of the famed Dragon Boat racing, Hanoi, Halong Bay and Bangkok revelry!). It is not uncommon for us to link in our respective cities, but this was my first time in the nation’s capital since returning from Taipei.

There won’t be any shots of the Mall in this post since I visit DC frequently enough to not feel the need to sight-see each time, but we did go to the National Portrait Gallery for the American Cool exhibit (totally worth a trip despite the fact that The Notorious B.I.G. was curiously missing from a lineup that included Tupac…). And to achieve a new level of friend-bonding, we spent Thursday bare bummed and sweating in various saunas and pools at Spa World in Centreville, VA (also worth it!).

But the real reason for this trip was to see Lorde at Echostage on Friday.

When I saw C after my return from Taiwan this fall, we gushed about this new artist we had been hearing about. Neither of us could believe the strength and honesty of this seventeen-year-old’s stories. It was as if she had read our minds of 10(+, smh…) years ago and wrote what we wished we could have detailed in our own collage-covered journals.

So when Lorde’s tour dates came out, Christian was on it. We booked our tickets within minutes of sales opening and waited.

It was the first show that I’ve been to where we decided to play the Old Fart Card and not push our way up to the front, staying at the back of the venue where there was room to dance and people watch. We didn’t have a very good view of the action on stage, but the show ended up being so good that it didn’t matter at all.

The opener, a new local artist called Lo-Fang, was super engaging and tugged on our heartstrings with his violin playing—supa fresh touch for an artist whose music would otherwise just be lumped into the ever-more-vague alternative/electronic/dance category.

And soon Lorde came out with “Glory and Gore” and made me fall in love with a track that I generally listen to only because I’ve resisted the urge to change it. (An urge which stems less from my dislike of the song and more from just needing to hear “Buzzcut Season” again after being distracted because “Team” came on.)

Let me now say that she sounded INCREDIBLE the entire night. And the thing that kept us gushing hours later was how the simple power of her performance meshed perfectly with a tight light show. The lighting design was flawless and, not to slight the other two musician/technicians on stage with her, seemed to be her costar: Lorde playing off of it with a wild abandon that only a seventeen-year-old girl could possess, inexplicably mingled with the poise of an old pro.

Almost as well known for her dancing as she is for her voice (just type “lorde dancing” into your preferred search engine or enjoy this collection of GIFs), we knew it wouldn’t be an evening full of Mia Michaels choreographed dance breaks. The movement and theatrics literally all came from Lorde’s interaction with the lighting: she would disappear into complete darkness to reappear like magic moments, words, notes later, curly locks covering her face, impetuously living her music.

When I say that she was a girl possessed, it’s not in the hater-y way of most Lorde-reporting bloggers. It was perfect. She knows what she brings to the table—evocative voice, poignant stories, teen ‘tude and poise—and does so with a self-possession that many adult performers would be right to envy.

We just had an absolute ball. No ‘bows were thrown, we danced our little butts off, and the vibe in the room was never less than a high pulsing positivity that made all of us feel the breathless anticipation of someone taking that final step over the threshold into an incredibly exciting life.

Nicely done, little one. I think I can speak for me and C, both, when I say that we can’t wait to see where your career will take you.

Here’s my favorite song off Pure Heroine. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

One response to “we ride the bus with our knees pulled in: lorde in dc

  1. Pingback: new job: check | apples + azaleas·

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