As we made our way to London’s Hyde Park last night, it dawned on us: this was the final show in the BST Hyde Park concert series for 2023. For so long we had excitedly waited for the greatest concert series the UK (and probably the world) has to offer to finally arrive and just like that, it was about to come to an end and the countdown would once again be on for another year. We actually felt mournful for those final notes of the night’s performance to ring out over the park in just a few hours. But what better way to end such a phenomenal series of iconic shows that with one of the biggest superstars on the planet – Lana Del Rey.
The singer recently caught a lot of flack following her performance at this year’s Glastonbury festival due to a late arrival on stage that resulted in 30 minutes of her set (which would have included a handful of her biggest hits) being axed. Many within the crowd were talking about the festival and sharing anxieties that there may be a recurrence and their favourite songs thrown to the wind for the sake of the icons hair not being done in time for her reveal.
The gritty, rock and roll attire and older generations that made up the majority of the audiences of the previous two nights were replaced by a much younger crowd donning daisy chains in their hair, loose linen dresses with various fruit patterns and stylish footwear. Punters went all out for this final show, and for Lana, who looked exceptionally striking as she made her way to the stage at a little after her scheduled start time of 8.40pm looking every bit the iconic superstar that she has become over the last 13 years. Following her talented backing dancers, all wearing wearing black leotards and fishnet stockings (later to be traded in for silver miniskirts and towering high heels), Del Rey was ushered on stage on the arm of one of her entourage, looking demure and voluptuous in a flowing floral dress for the entire of the show; her hair draped over the sides of her face and a string of jewels sparking over her dark locks as she opened with new penning A&W before serenading us with poignant Great Gatsby hit, Young & Beautiful.
Queue one of the single most deafening applauses we have ever heard in our lives! I tell you…. Young woman with strong voices is a powerful combination and I’m more than certain Hyde Park organisers would have had some noise complaints on this night! Even a simple gesture like a smile or “hello” from Del Rey propelled the fans into a frenzy. As she sat at a table for an extended intro of Bartender and had her hair brushed by a stylist (a humorous nod to the fiasco around her lateness at Glasto being the result of her hair taking so long to do) and occasionally puffed on her vape, the fans went absolutely wild.
The set list put together by the sultry pop bombshell was soaked in the melancholia and glamour that Del Rey has become such an icon for representing. That Americana twang that has become synonymous with her music and style rang through ballads like Arcadia and a syrupy performance of Candy Necklaces where the singer sat atop the shining golden piano at the height of her raised stage to deliver the new album notable.
The evening was dotted with highlights from the singer’s remarkable career and represented most of her records. New album title track, There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard was exceptional as her pristine, breathy vocals begged, “When’s it gonna be my turn?” and her three backing singers, all astounding in their own right, drove the track to a climax with their impeccable talents on the mic; passing off lines to each other in a momentous vocal battle.
Showing off her comedic side, Del Rey was happy to look back at her Glastonbury moment with humour several times in the show; mentioning “I think this is where I got cut off last time” ahead of her performance of Diet Mountain Dew. “Sorry about that”, she would then follow up with.
Regardless of the choice of song offered up during the evening, fans were there and ready to belt back alongside the singer’s every word and many had the chance to get very up close and personal with the superstar as she opted to spend around 10 minutes walking along the front rows of the crows taking pictures, talking with fans or signing dozens of pieces of memorabilia instead of heading back stage for a costume change or sit down before the encore. And she genuinely cared about this moment; recounting stories some of the fans told her on stage later in the set.
While fans were equally happy hearing new songs that depicted abusive relationships like Ultraviolence or being hopelessly in love like Cherry, it was the earlier songs that shone the brightest during the set with the Americana twang of Born To Die sweeping over Hyde Park and providing one of the most nostalgic moments within the set. Summertime Sadness, which has become one of the singers more well-known and celebrated recordings, offered the icon the biggest applause and an abridged run through of Blue Jeans was another sweet Born To Die addition to the set. It was however the closing Video Games that brought the show to its ultimate climax; Del Rey swinging on a swing draped in colourful flowers and delivering some of the most extraordinarily perfect vocals of the night and reminding us – if she hadn’t already in the previous 90 minutes – just how bright the Del Rey star burns. It was an exquisite night of rich, slow burning and melancholic ballads from one of the most iconic singer-songwriters of the 21st century and a stellar ending to 2 weeks of amazing BST Hyde Park shows.
Young and Beautiful
Chemtrails Over the Country Club
Pretty When You Cry
Born to Die
Norman Fucking Rockwell
Diet Mountain Dew
Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.