Arguably the biggest surprise of Coachella's first weekend came from Lorde, one of the most anticipated acts of the festival, when the singer announced unexpectedly that she would play another show just hours ahead of her festival set.
“I'm playing my first show in two and a half years tonight at midnight. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown. See you there,” she had tweeted her over four-and-a-half million followers. The 300-person music venue, located in Pioneertown, Calif., was about an hour from festival grounds.
Ticket prices, a bargain at $20, were an ode to her age, shared the 20-year-old—who arrived fully formed, it seemed, at 16—before announcing four minutes later that the show had already sold out. No surprise there.
She also debuted “Sober” that night, a new song off her highly anticipated sophomore album Melodrama, coming out on June 16.
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“I don't know if you know, but I have a record coming out,” she told the crowd when she took the stage Sunday night at Coachella, ahead of headliner Kendrick Lamar on the main stage. “It's about the ups and downs of being a twentysomething,” she summed it up, before introducing another song that had yet to be heard: “Homemade Dynamite.”
“She’s literally dropping the song right now just for us,” remarked an excited fan.
Before the show began, Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” began to play, and dominating the stage was a large rectangular box, draped in black.
When "Running Up That Hill" stopped, the lights went down, and Lorde appeared, standing incredibly still, surrounded by a blue light, microphone in hand, as she looked dramatically straight into the camera and at each and every fan through the huge screens behind her. She launched into the opening lines of “Green Light”, the radio friendly first single off the new record: “Those great whites, they have big teeth / Oh, they bite you.”
“New Zealand! New Zealand! New Zealand!” shouted fans holding up her native country's flag.
Next came crowd favorite “Tennis Court”, off her 2013 debut Pure Heroine, followed by “Magnets”, her collaboration with Disclosure, as the singer busted out her signature dance moves.
The box behind her, now unveiled and risen, featured dancers inside moving in choreography to each song, as the structure changed colors, from red to blue to purple; in the backdrop was a large screen showcasing different, obscure videos.
“Coachella, it is such an honor to be here with you,” she finally said, accompanied by an orchestra and all-female backup singers. “Thank you so much for having us three years later. Oh my f---ing god, this is the shit.”
“Listen, I wouldn’t have come to Coachella without a couple of surprises,” she continued.
“Taylor Swift is coming out,” joked a 20-something New Zealander, addressing a group of young fans nearby.
“Really?” squeaked the girls.
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But there was only Lorde—clad in a sparkling bustier, baggy, sequin pants and white Adidas sneakers—and her new tracks.
After “Buzzcut Season,” she disappeared and reappeared again inside the box and performed “Ribs”. Then, came new releases “Sober,” “Melodrama” and “Liability,” which she introduced by covering Kanye West's “Runaway”.
“Let's have a toast for the douche bags / Let's have a toast for the assholes / Let's have a toast for the scumbags,” she sang, as the crowd joined in.
"Thank you so much,” she said, grinning. "You look so good, Coachella."
Next came her megahits “Royals” and “Team,” which she sang while making her way off stage, running up and down the front rows to embrace her fans.
And she would end the way she began, this time with a full-wattage, high-flying performance of “Green Light”.
“Thanks for coming to the party,” she said. “I have a question. Do you have one last burst of energy left? I have one more song for you, and I want you to give me f--ing everything.”
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