Three days before appearing on the red carpet at Madison Square Garden for the 60th annual Grammy Awards, Lana Del Rey enthralled a clamoring audience at a packed Capital One Arena on Jan. 25. The singer-songwriter complemented soaring vocals with vacation-themed visuals as she treated loyal Washington, D.C. fans to the 10th performance of her 2018 L.A. to the Moon Tour.
Del Rey, known for weaving mid-20th century Americana nostalgia into her cinematic style of music, performed on a stage full of palm trees, lounge chairs and cliff-like rocks that mimicked the black-and-white backdrops of beaches and waterfalls projected throughout the concert.
Del Rey coordinated her stage movements and dancing with the paradisal scenery. At one point in the show, Del Rey and her singer-dancers laid on their backs at the front of the stage as Del Rey performed. The trio’s images were projected onto the backdrop of a beach as they pretended to roll with the ebb and flow of the tide and the music.
The 32-year-old singer opened her show with Henry Mancini’s “Experiment in Terror” from 1962, before transitioning to “13 Beaches” from her Grammy-nominated work for Best Pop Vocal Album from 2017, “Lust for Life.”
Del Rey also integrated her instrumental ability into the concert. During her solo acoustic performance of “Yayo,” the artist displayed her wide vocal range while plucking chords on a Flying V guitar.
Throughout the show, Del Rey provided glimpses of her infatuation with 1950s and 1960s Americana by performing pieces such as Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair,” and Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” In the past, Lana has discussed how her love of the era seeps into her work as an artist, and these influences were on full display last Thursday night.
Del Rey also tackled current social issues throughout the show. Before “God Bless America — And All the Beautiful Women in It,” as well as “When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing,” she described music and dance as loving alternatives to dark times; the songs themselves echoed the uplifting sentiments.
“If we hold on to hope, we’ll have a happy ending,” she sang. “When the world was at war before, we just kept dancing.”
Del Rey admitted she felt nervous being political while performing in D.C., but the audience embraced her message warmly with cheers and applause.
Of course, Del Rey’s most popular hits such as “Born to Die,” “Video Games” and “Summertime Sadness” were also well-received by the crowded Capital One Arena audience, whose members were allowed some input on the setlist. In her penultimate song, Del Rey asked fans what they wanted to hear before ultimately singing “Old Money.”
The show was capped off with “Off to the Races,” the 23rd piece of the night before Del Rey left the stage as fans cheered for even more.
Overall, Del Rey mesmerized her audience by creating an intimacy with fans through conversation between songs and personal interaction with patrons on the floor. From early in the performance, she established a rapport with the crowd that allowed her music to resonate even more deeply with fans.
Some performers struggle with creating intimacy live, but Del Rey transferred her talent on the record to a compelling performance. Her connection with the audience in the massive Capital One Arena was impressive, immersing concertgoers in her idyllic visuals and nostalgic waves of sound.