Lana Del Rey at Sydney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Saturday March 31, 2018.
All photographs by Tim Lambert.

The first real night of Melbourne’s impending winter doom did little to discourage a sea of fans adorned in flower crowns from attending Lana Del Rey’s first Melbourne show since 2011’s Splendour In The Grass tour.

A headliner in his own right, Michigan pop prince BØRNS (Garrett Borns) warmed up a capacity crowd with a sparkling performance, building on his sold-out shows at Howler earlier in the week. Kicking off the set with the glitzy Faded Heart and Holy Ghost, BØRNS strutted around the stage swinging his mic stand and twirling his microphone cord around his finger. 10,000 Emerald Pools pulled at the proverbial while personal favourite American Money soared; the gushing crowd sung “sweet like Tennessee honey” back at the 26-year-old. Splitting his set almost straight down the middle between latest release Blue Madonna and debut album Dopamine, the rising star ended his set with the former’s final track Sweet Dreams.


Very few acts fit the Sidney Myer Music Bowl better than Lana Del Rey did this night; with a mustard grand piano as centrepiece, the stage was dressed in swings, beach chairs and palm trees. The 14,000 capacity open-air venue was humming as the headliner moseyed on stage to opener 13 Beaches, moved through a synchronised dance for Cherry, and rolled around on the floor for Pretty When You Cry. There was a sultry piano rendition of Marilyn Monroe’s Happy Birthday, Mr. President and with the eclectic West Coast ­we heard the 32-year-old’s voice at its piercing peak. With a full live band and pair of dancers, the stage was always full, though it proved harder and harder to take our eyes off the adored singer as the show progressed.

When Del Rey descended the steps into the crowd, presents were hurled upon her: teddy bears, roses and an Allen Ginsberg book amongst the haul. While taking pictures mid-set with fans, the singer received some song requests, and an impromptu rendition of Gods And Monsters ensued. “Anything else you’d like to hear I haven’t played for five years?” she laughed. 2012’s Million Dollar Man followed, again, by request.

Lana Del Rey

Undoubtedly, the finest moment of the set was Video Games, for a number of reasons: the passionate crowd needed little assistance to deliver its lyrics; Del Rey performed while on a swing, in a skirt (impressive control); and finally, I got to watch my first dance song performed live, with my wife swaying along next to me. Cute.

As the 90-minute set reached its final turn, Del Rey had the big hits queued up and ready to go; Born To Die’s Yayo and the chic Shades Of Cool left no time for any kind of encore, as we were treated to fan favourites Summertime Sadness and an extended Off To The Races.

Once again, Del Rey made her way down into the crowd, vowing that it wouldn’t be another six years between visits. My heart might need that long to recover though.