Concert Review: Lana Del Rey at BB&T Center

During the second song of Lana Del Rey’s Thursday night set at the BB&T Center, the singer laid down on the floor of the stage with her two backup singers and performed to a camera that broadcast her visage to the crowd in black-and-white. Barring any jokes about “laying down on the job,” this moment served as an apt allegory for the ambience of her show: Not even she wanted to get up on her feet for the proceedings.

After a decent but run-of-the-mill opening set from Colombian singer-songwriter Kali Uchis, Del Rey and her band took the stage at 9:15, dressed in all black. The musicians were greeted by a sea of cell phones throughout the venue, now a commonplace occurrence for young fans, and Del Rey told the crowd, “I’m back in my tropical zone.”

Following her last stop in South Florida, a sold-out gig at West Palm’s Coral Sky Amphitheatre, I was surprised to see what appeared to be a colossally undersold show at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. The entire upper deck of the arena was curtained off, and the floor could generously be described as two-thirds full. Despite the small crowd for such a large venue, her young fan base showed its support by staying loud throughout the set.

The show opened with “13 Beaches,” a down-tempo cut from last year’s Lust for Life, and quickly settled into the minimal, restrained atmosphere that her music generally occupies. On “Yayo,” Del Rey’s most vulnerable moment of the night, she strapped on a Gibson Flying V and performed solo, flexing her talent without the comfort of a band behind her.

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Her fixation on vintage Americana was on full display throughout the evening, as even the monitors broadcast in black-and-white, and the screens behind her displayed fuzzy videos of beachside settings and clips from her music videos. The most striking detail of the show was the wonderfully unique stage setup that Del Rey brought along, complete with palm trees, boulders, beach chairs, and at one point even rope swings that dropped from the rafters.

As the end of the show grew near, Del Rey took a break to step down and take selfies with fans in the front row of the pit. Though this was an endearing show of appreciation for her fans, it was an interlude that went on a bit too long for anyone situated elsewhere in the venue.

The biggest surprise of the night was a rare rendition of Ultraviolence deep cut “Florida Kilos” late in the set. It was only the second time she’d performed the track live, with the first being her last show in South Florida in the summer of 2015.

Closer “Off to the Races,” the most powerful and exciting song of the night musically, popped in a way that the studio version doesn’t, and showed how much more interesting her set could have been if more songs were embellished for the live setting. It ended the show on a strong note, and left me wishing that more of her songs were as compelling.

Though I’m not a huge fan of her music, I was struck by how impressive Del Rey’s powerhouse voice is live. Over the course of a 95-minute, no-encore set, she hit every note and impressed with vocal flourishes that validated her stature as a true pop star.

On the whole, Lana Del Rey’s set delivered exactly what one would expect from her in a live setting, comfortably satisfying the many fans in flower crowns who sang along to every word. That being said, if you weren’t a fan before, her live show isn’t likely to change your mind. It’s just more of the breathy same.

SET LIST:

1) 13 Beaches

2) Pretty When You Cry

3) Cherry

4) Yayo

5) Born to Die

6) Blue Jeans

7) White Mustang

8) Honeymoon

9) National Anthem

10) Music To Watch Boys To

11) God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It

12) Lust for Life

13) Change

14) Black Beauty

15) Young and Beautiful

16) Ride

17) Video Games

18) Florida Kilos

19) Salvatore

20) Summertime Sadness

21) Off to the Races