"I am the ideal comedown shepherd, and then when I think you're ready to handle it, I'll f***k you up," announced Lorde with a wicked grin, showing a keen understanding of the general state of the Glastonbury crowd at 7.45pm on a Sunday.
Newly and unrecognisably blonde, the 25-year-old appeared at the bottom of an elaborate wooden seesaw against an Olafur Eliasson-esque yellow orb projected against the back of the stage.
The New Zealand pop star, who made a splash with her debut single Royals in 2012, has form at Glastonbury. She last played in 2017, days after the release of sophomore album Melodrama. It remains one of the most ambitious and accomplished sets I've ever seen.
Now taking the sunset slot at Pyramid, Lorde - aka Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor - rattled through her back catalogue while strutting up and down her vertiginous staging in a pastel bodysuit. She has always been a prodigious songwriter, but what's been so admirable about her career is how she's taken her time to make new records.
She's technically touring her most recent, 2021's Solar Power - a characteristically cynical if sunny record - and the styling of this set reflected a new, dreamier aesthetic to the grizzled emotion that fuelled her last performance here. But this was a set that also folded in songs she wrote in her teens - Supercut, Royals, Perfect Places - with a new maturity.
If 2017 was a raw, pulpy affair, this was a show of air and light and spirit. Sitting on the steps of her giant seesaw, Lorde explained that Glastonbury was "Disneyland" for artists like her. "What happens here doesn't happen anywhere else in the world," she explained, telling everyone what they already knew. And in Lorde we have an artist who knows how to nail a Glastonbury set.
Lorde slams US Supreme Court during performance
As she wowed festival crowds with hits old and new, Lorde also took a moment to weigh in on the controversial Roe vs Wade ruling which has previously protected women's rights to abortion in the US.
"Welcome to sadness," the singer told her captivated crowd. "The temperature is unbearable until you face it.
"Wanna hear a secret girls? Your bodies were destined to be controlled and objectified since before you were born," she told them.
"That horror is your birthright. But here's another secret. You possess strength. That wisdom is also your birthright.
"I ask you today to make exercising that wisdom your life's work because everything depends on it. F*** the Supreme Court," she shouted to a raptourous audience.
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