Pop artist Lorde is a performer in every sense of the word. With how flawlessly she executes each performance, it’s easy to overlook all the technical complexities going on behind the scenes at her shows. No need to fear- the AV nerds at Pro Presenters are taking over to break down her last Melodrama Tour and the audio-visual innovations that made it unforgettable.
Recently, Rolling Stone released a list of The 100 Greatest Songs of the Century- So Far. Appearing in the #9 spot is Lorde’s debut track, Royals. This track launched then 15-year-old Lorde into the spotlight. Over the years she has worked on perfecting her craft beyond the music- turning her creative visions into a fully immersive concert experience.
Stage Set Up
This brings us to “The Tank” – Back in 2017 Lorde decided to make her return to live performances by headlining the Coachella Valley Music Festival. Her team of AV geniuses and set designers brought to life the tank– a translucent box suspended on a scissor lift, fully capable of tilting, raising, and other movements.
I first saw the tank in action at the 2017 Governor’s Ball Music Festival in NYC and it was completely mesmerizing. Seeing a troupe of backup dancers suspended 25-feet up in the air in this transparent tank was a stage setup unlike anything seen before. Following the fest, Lorde released her latest album Melodramaand launched into her world tour.
For her Melodrama World Tour, Ella [the singer’s given name] worked with Richard Young as the tour’s production director. The team brought on Es Devlin and Rob Sinclair as production designer- the innovators of the tank as a focal point for the action. Young describes the tank as symbolic to her album, “it’s about the ups and downs of going to a party with your friends… having the tank enabled us to introduce the audience to the voyeuristic look at the party.”
Lights, Camera, Action!
Lorde’s team brought in lighting designer Martin Phillips to make her performance shine. Phillips- who has previously worked with artists like Nine Inch Nails and Incubus, worked with numerous types of stage lighting to illuminate the show. The tour utilizes smoke machines during certain tracks inside the tank where lighting emits only silhouettes (talk about smoke and mirrors, right?). Lorde and her five backup dancers every move is tracked by Follow-Me remotes to ensure perfect lighting is on the performers at all times.
Lorde has synesthesia, which means she feels colors, so creating color palettes and schemes for stage movements, songs, and moments within the show was very important. Phillips worked to bring her feelings to the crowd, “[Lorde] gave me broad color palettes for the songs, how those songs felt to her and the color associated with that feeling.” From anywhere in the arena, the lighting brought different emotions- for example, “Writer In The Dark” felt dark and empty, and “Green Light” had a bright energy to it, which tied into the emotions throughout the arena.
Immersing the Audience
Video visuals in the background were created to enhance the storyline Lorde portrays on her album. The audience had numerous places to focus their attention throughout the show. Two Christie 20K Roadster projectors (Christy- a great brand we’ve used on recent installations) were set up broadcasting live moments during the show. During the finale for “Green Light,” four confetti canons shot off biodegradable white papers stars, which contained five original handwritten messages- a perfect fairy tail ending for a fully-immersive experience.
No Melodrama Behind Lorde’s Production
Being able to attend theatrical productions like Lorde’s Melodrama tour is an experience that we look forward to. Next time you feel immediate buyer’s remorse set in after a ticket purchase, think about all of the top-notch gear being used to immerse yourself in an unforgettable experience.
If you want to know more about the tour setup, or maybe amp up the production at your church, performing arts center, or events space, give us a call! Our sales reps are ready to truly make your space shine.