Lorde couldn’t wait to be back in front of a New Zealand crowd.
The Kiwi superstar kicked off her Solar Power tour in Wellington’s TSB Arena, leaving fans starstruck, as the venue shook in awe with melodies about heartbreak and sunshine.
The Kiwi alt-pop star, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, was thrust into the spotlight as a teenager, with her 2013 single Royals topping worldwide charts - and now reaching billion status on Spotify.
The confidence she gained all those years ago hasn’t left her side.
Lorde’s third studio album, Solar Power, has given the now-26-year-old an opportunity to embrace different styles of sound. Her new tracks mix acoustic summer vibes with themes of self-discovery and the natural world; It translates perfectly onto the stage.
Wellington-based up-and-coming alternative artist Riiki started the set off with Benee-esque pop tracks, instantly hyping up the crowd. Singer Fazerdaze next took the stage with a rock-inspired synthpop sound filling the room.
Then the curtain raised, revealing a picturesque scene – and a Kiwi music legend.
Lorde made her grand entrance to Leader of a New Regime, from Solar Power. Her white pantsuit shone in front of a background of a full moon.
Acoustic ballads mixed with the soft, yet powerful undertones of her voice would make you forget the room was packed.
“What kind of mood are you in Wellington?” the singer’s words echoed from her microphone. Seconds later, she was drowned out by applause and ecstatic screams of the crowd, embracing a once-again thriving concert scene.
Her 2022 New Zealand shows were cancelled in late 2021 due to “continuing uncertainty” amidst rising cases of the Delta variant.
It would be an understatement to say the crowd was happy to be back – and the Green Light singer was equally ecstatic to play in front of a home crowd.
Embracing her New Zealand upbringing in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, she sang Mata Kohore, a Te Reo rendition of Stoned at the Nail Salon. Later performing a heartfelt Te Reo Māori version of Oceanic Feeling.
Her stage presence was so unique, dancing in her classic irreverent style, in tune with every melody, captivating the audience and tugging at heartstrings.
Music came to a standstill as she embraced Aotearoa’s capital city.
“I have really missed you. I’m not the artist who says this everywhere they go, but I would say Wellington is truly one of my favourite cities in the world to play.”
The room broke into raucous applause.
A group of young girls screamed “we love you Lorde!” at the top of their lungs. She smirked.
She’s got fond memories of the capital, saying she’ll ‘never forget’ playing a show at the Michael Fowler Centre many years ago.
“I get a little shy when I play in Aotearoa,” she said.
“I think it’s something to do with the fact that you’ve seen me all the way, from when I was so young. You were privy to all of my awkward stages, all the dumb s**t I said, you were there.”
Yelich-O’Connor opened up: “Everything feels so uncertain these past couple of years.”
Two shows at Black Barn Vineyards in Havelock North had to be postponed due to Cyclone Gabrielle’s impacts.
The singer urged fans it wasn’t a cancellation – she said she was “working on something” and would “love to be there,” but now just wasn’t the right time.
She sent her heartfelt condolences to parts of New Zealand hit-hard by the cyclone. She expressed sorrow that many had lost family, homes – everything.
“I really believe in the power of a room of people. I want us to all just send the best possible wishes to Hawke’s Bay,” she said.
Just weeks ago, the young star dropped off supplies to volunteers at an Auckland community centre struck by flooding.
She’s preparing to give the same aroha to cyclone recovery efforts. Lorde is due to headline the ‘Ōtautahi 4 Aotearoa Cyclone Relief Concert’ on Friday with other New Zealand music legends, to raise funds for the Red Cross appeal.
The moon in the background turned to a sunset, before lights went dark. Screams and chants of “one more song” could be heard reverberating throughout the arena.
The floor shook with anticipation. Lorde took the stage again to perform her smash hit Royals. Everyone in the room had been overcome by an almost insatiable urge to dance.
She ended her set with another classic - Team, which had everyone singing along.
She’s off to tour New Zealand and will set off for Australia afterwards, no doubt giving them the same unforgettable experience that allows every audience member the space to feel every emotion possible.
And to Hawke’s Bay fans: she’ll be back to perform soon – there’s no doubt about it.
What: Solar Power World Tour
When: TSB Arena Wellington, February 22
Christchurch Town Hall, Febraury 24
Electric Avenue Festival, Christchurch, February 25
Western Springs, Auckland, March 4