I had the pleasure of seeing Lana Del Rey perform at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center in Charleston, West Virginia, Oct. 5. This was the last stop on her 10-date tour, produced by Live Nation Entertainment.
Del Rey opened with “Normal F*cking Rockwell” from her sixth studio album in a beautiful black and gold gown that screamed old Hollywood glamor. The crowd, full of fans in vintage dresses, hair bows, heart-shaped glasses, cowboy boots and even wedding gowns, roared from her ethereal and formidable stage presence.
From the start, her live experience is something very special. She had an armada of band members, backup singers and dancers who all joined her on stage. The 38-year-old singer seemed to float through the set with an angelic force, moving to a shortened version of “A&W” from her newest ninth studio album, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.”
The backup dancers took the lead during “Young And Beautiful” and throughout “Bartender” as they danced mesmerizingly through the song with candlesticks in their hands. Del Rey floated seamlessly through her set, transitioning to gospel choir harmonies in “The Grants” that followed into “Chemtrails Over The Country Club.”
Del Rey’s voice switched from soft to sultry as she began “Cherry.” Despite the slow nature of some of her songs, the crowd never yielded. The dancers and backup singers kept the audience on their toes as Del Rey seemed to almost take it easy, letting her vocals speak for themselves.
During “Cherry,” however, Del Rey can be seen coordinating dance moves with her dancers. Swaying with them during the lyrics, “I fall to pieces when I'm with you,” and then matching arm movements as she sings, “My cherries and wine, rosemary and thyme.”
During a fan-favorite song, Del Rey and her dancers spent the majority of the song, "Pretty When You Cry," on the ground. They captivated the audience with their performance for an overhead camera to show on the big screen.
I was most excited about the beautiful wooden swings covered in flowers and lace that took up each side of the stage. Del Rey’s dancers used these swings to glide above fans during “Ride,” from her iconic first studio album “Born To Die.”
Angelic-voiced Del Rey covered “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette, serenading the crowd with the classic country hit. She then continued with her third single from her second studio album, “Blue Jeans.” Del Rey can be found hiding behind her guitarist throughout the first minute of the song before taking center stage again.
Throughout “Ultraviolence” she wasn’t visible for the majority of the song, staying hidden behind a curtain stage prop while she sang.
During her performance of “Born To Die” and “Diet Mountain Dew,” Del Rey had a collage of old videos of her that were no doubt once viral on Tumblr during the era these songs came out over 10 years ago. This evoked massive nostalgia within the crowd members who grew up on the internet during this iconic era.
Del Rey transitioned to “Summertime Sadness,” a song in which the crowd seemed to know every word.
Arguably the most iconic moment of the show was when Del Rey sang her biggest hit, “Video Games,” while swinging comfortably on the wooden swing. “You’re gonna have to help me sing this one,” she said while the crowd belted out the lyrics while she effortlessly leaned back on the swing.
Before beginning her final song, Del Rey took the time to acknowledge her fellow stage members and expressed her gratitude for them while also mentioning all the fun they had on this tour. Del Rey talks to her fans in the crowd saying, “You guys made me fall in love with my job all over again.”
She finishes her 18-song setlist, with “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” from her newest album. She let her backup singers take the lead on the outro of the song, allowing for a beautiful ending to her magical set.
As the last song ended and the lights began to dim, the crowd wished for the singer to return and chanted, “Lana! Lana! Lana!” The hour-and-a-half setlist wasn’t enough and I found myself selfishly wishing for one more song.
Overall, Lana Del Rey’s performance was one that I’ll never forget. She left the crowd dazzled and speechless from her mere stage presence. She is a force to be reckoned with and an artist that will never lose her spark.