Can.I.Rock.it?

Lana Del Rey Paris Gig Review: Somehow, some way, this Girl is a bit of a Modern Masterpiece

In I heard... on November 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Paris gig
I‘m not sure I’ve heard her right when Lana Del Rey begins singing the lyrics to the chorus of her forthcoming single, “Born to Die”.

‘Take a walk on the wild side; let me fuck you hard in the pouring rain …”

Eyes widened, I immediately look around at the audience to see if anyone else reacts. Did anyone else just hear that?

The beautiful girl in the white dress with Grace Kelly curls in her hair just sang: “let me fuck you hard in the pouring rain.”

No one seemed to notice; unmoving and transfixed by her.

I look back at Lana onstage, stunned by her lyrics and infinitely more engaged. From the point of view of a young woman of the same age as her, it cannot get more raw and candid than this.

Paris gig

In the Nouveau Casino, a venue intimate enough to make eye contact with most of the people in the room, Lana appeared to be coming to grips with the fact that she was no longer sharing her most intimate thoughts and memories of ex-lovers from behind the safety of a Youtube account.

In between songs, she barely speaks except to introduce the song title. When male audience members wolf whistle and make suggestive comments, she looks down to the floor, perhaps sad, perhaps ashamed.

As much as she was born to sing and her voice is even more colorful and rich in real life from the very first note she wails, Lana is painfully fragile about the stories she has to tell.

And it makes her magnetic to watch.

You catch yourself having to cock your head to the side as if to filter her charm. I notice the guy standing in front of me doing it too.

In an industry of loud and boisterous showbiz acts, Lana Del Rey is a breath of fresh air. She needs not make rambling chit chat to the audience or in interviews for it would break the spell she has on us.

Paris gig

I can’t help thinking Lana’s sound is incredibly brave, perhaps genius and certainly ahead of the times. Her first release, Video Games could have easily been a one hit wonder.

‘How could it work?’, even I was skeptical when a friend first showed me her first Youtube video in early summer. So unrestrained, unstructured, reminiscent of a lost love song written by Elvis fifty years ago and yet in a new age of gimmick electro-pop music.

But as I stand in front of Lana, listening to the unknown songs for her still unfinished album, it becomes clear that somehow, some way, this girl has written a bit of a modern masterpiece.

The atmosphere surrounding Lana is one of intense mystery and curiosity. Polydor record execs from London  nervously introduce themselves to her team in the venue’s reception, having just been haggled for their tickets by desperate fans outside. Inside, the industry and media types in v-neck sweaters stick out amidst the hardcore Lana fans who helped the gig sell out within thirty minutes.

I take it the real bidding war for Lana Del Rey is now on. Six million Youtube hits in two months is probably good confirmation for the major labels that it’s going to work.

Paris gig

When the show is over. She doesn’t do anything as predictable as coming back for an encore. We wait and we chant her name but she does not return and the tech team begins to de-assemble the stage.

Do I feel like I know Lana Del Rey now any more than the millions of others who have poured over her Youtube videos but have yet to see her live?

No.

She didn’t tell us the story behind the boy she sings about and she didn’t tell us about why she loves men that don’t love her back.

But when she cried out her heartbroken words in that haunting, desperate tone– in those moments she was ours.  Completely vulnerable and oh so beautiful.

:::

End note: Artists can touch us in the smallest of ways….

In the background visuals of Lana’s set, I saw of flash of an animated clip she had chosen.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it and where I had seen it before. Finally I remembered and was able to tap into one of my most beautiful childhood memories from over 20 years ago.

I’ve been watching it over and over again all day.

So thanks Lana.

::::

Photos by MessyNessy.

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  1. I LOVE Fantasia! Good work!xxx

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