I took my ten year old daughter to the Wellington show of Lorde's Melodrama world tour expecting to play the part of dutiful parent accompanying a youngster to see a favourite pop star.

I left having had my eyes opened to an artist that blew both our minds, right from the first notes of the spectacularly delivered and aptly named opener Homemade Dynamite.

A very millennial audience packed the Michael Fowler Centre to see the extraordinary Ella Yellich O'Connor, however despite that generation's reputation for chasing instant gratification, they saw a performance crafted by the kind of experience and innate talent that can't be created in any kind of a hurry.

Having recently turned just 21, Yelich O'Connor is already a seasoned artist with half a decade in the public eye, and with her latest album two years in the making, she clearly values the integrity of artistic process, no matter how long it takes.


And one of the most immediately obvious things about her is that she really is doing it for the art. At this show there was no pretense, no skimpy outfit, no brazenly sexual choreography. She doesn't need anything other than her own talent to propel her to the heights of success she has achieved.

Fluid, confident and comfortable onstage, Lorde has come a long way since her early, stationary, slightly jerky yet still utterly arresting renditions of super-hit Royals from 2013 debut album Pure Heroine, but even back then it was obvious she was channelling something powerful, something she described last night as "the love of my life."

The security Yelich O'Connor seems to have in the knowledge she has found this, means she doesn't really need any bells and whistles to share it with us, and while there were some visuals, some neon, some shiny-dressed interpretive dancers, this show was all-Ella.

Magnets, Tennis Court and Hard Feelings showed off spot-on vocals and you could almost see the music coursing through her as she absolutely owned her space on stage.

There were poetic interludes, three costume changes and three distinct sections to a show that must have been a fair bit smaller than she's been used to lately. Peering out at the packed crowd she buzzed about the intimacy of the venue more than once.
"I really can see everyone in this room" she said, scoping us all out with a flash of her eyes and a grin.

It was just one moment in what would turn out to be a series of chats she had with the crowd, observations, expressions of gratitude and even an extended and emotive recount of her musical beginnings and that she "didn't have many friends" at school.

All that's certainly changed though, and the rapturous, earsplitting response the most popular girl in the room received for every move she made proved it.

From start to custom-confetti bedecked climax, from the real, raw pain in some of her songs to the pumping bass and vibrant energy of others (Green Light stood out as a highlight and had the entire place on its feet) this show was a quirky, kooky juggernaut of talent, emotion, connection and actual joy, by an artist who looked like she was happy to be right at home.