• Review: Lorde illuminates Black Barn with intimate Solar Power show

Review: Lorde illuminates Black Barn with intimate Solar Power show

Lorde – The Solar Power Tour
With special guests Broods (Acoustic Set), Fazerdaze & Riiki Reid
Thursday, April 20
Black Barn Vineyards
Review by Astrid Austin

A warm hue illuminated Havelock North’s Black Barn Vineyards, allowing the audience to bask in the melodious voice of Lorde.

The penultimate show of the 26-year-old’s Solar Power World Tour brought a glimmer of sunshine and reprieve the region desperately needed.

Originally due to be held in March 2022, the Hawke’s Bay show was rescheduled twice; first because of COVID-19 and again last month due to Cyclone Gabrielle.

“Welcome at long last to the Solar Power Tour. Thank you for waiting,” Lorde (Ella Yellich-O'Connor) addressed the adoring crowd.

“We wanted to come to you so badly, but we knew it was right to wait. We’ve all been watching how it’s been down here and just been sending you so much love and waiting for this moment.”

In an unfamiliar site for the venue, the mosh pit was already a few rows deep well before Riiki Reid (Raquel Abolins-Reid), the first of three supporting acts, sauntered onto the stage. 

The Wellington-born singer performed eight songs with ease and confidence. They were a vibrant mix of rock and dance-pop, with a few softer songs mixed in. 

Her 2022 single Meet U Again showcased a different side of the rising musician; 90s indie-rock lines combined with retro synths.  

Lorde made use of a stool during her performance. 

Reid’s former Onslow College peer, Fazerdaze (Amelia Murray) came across as somewhat nervous when she took to the stage with her four-piece ensemble - a quality that ultimately won her over with the crowd. 

Her vocals, however, spoke for themselves. She was confident behind the mic, singing, and with a guitar in hand. 

The 30-year-old has recently resurfaced after taking a five-year hiatus from music. Her 2022 EP Break! joins her 2017 album Morningside and self-titled and self-released 2014 EP.

Opening for Lorde was particularly special for the self-confessed "massive fan", who grew up listening to her and knows every song word for word. 

The only time I have seen Broods perform was in 2018 when they opened for Taylor Swift at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.

While this was not a crowd of up to 40,000 people, seeing the brother-sister duo of Caleb and Georgia Nott in a more intimate setting was particularly special.

Their performance comes a couple of days before their Space Island album New Zealand Tour kicks off on Saturday in Christchurch, and then heads to Auckland and Wellington.

The "lullaby set" included a selection of hits such as Mother & Father as well as a cover. 

Lorde (middle) was joined by her supporting acts Riiki Reid (left), Georgia Knott of Broods and Fazerdaze. 

The three-act lineup proved a fitting warm-up to Lorde’s set. After 70 shows in 20 countries, the Grammy award-winning singer, who first came onto the scene as a 16-year-old, graced the stage with ease and confidence.

Unlike previous shows for this tour, Lorde was not atop a rotating staircase that imitated a sundial, nor did she have any costume changes.

Instead, she let her songs, and her words speak. At times, she was tearful. In doing so, this audience almost gained something others hadn't.

“This feels so intimate. It feels like I can spit on you. But I wouldn’t,” she said.

Dressed in a black power suit, Lorde opened her 17-song set with The Path, Homemade Dynamite and Buzzcut Season – each song from one of her three albums.

After addressing the crowd, she sang her waiata Mata Kohore (Stoned at the Nail Salon), with Dame Hinewehi Mohi – the woman who helped facilitate the song’s translation into te reo Māori – in the audience.

At times she danced around the stage. At one point, she even came down, stood on the barricade and sang into the audience. But for the most part, she leant against a stool.

She credited this to a “kinda weird virus”, although not COVID-19, which has seen her “lying down for the last week”. 

The admission proved what a superstar she is, and her commitment to putting on a show for Hawke's Bay. 

Her 15th song, and title track off her third album Solar Power saw her joined by her female supporting acts; Riiki Reid, Fazerdaze and Georgia Knott of Broods. 

It was a stunning display of homegrown Kiwi talent. 

Other songs included The Louvre, Liability, Tennis Court and a slowed-down version of Mood Ring. Yet almost too quickly, the night ended with Royal and Team. 

For my 18-year-old sister, being able to hear one of her favourite singers live and in Hawke's Bay brought her to tears in a couple of the songs.

And, while her (happy) tears were somewhat surprising, she wasn't alone in her reaction. Several people in the crowd could be seen with tears in their eyes or being consoled by friends.

It goes to show the impact a Kiwi girl has had not only nationally but internationally since she first came into our hearts and minds ten years ago.