Friday, April 25, 2014

lana del rey @ bill graham civic auditorium (4/18)

I know I said I'd do a write-up of the Lana del Rey concert I went to, so here it is! Unfortunately I've put it off for too long -- to call this past week exhausting would be an understatement -- so it'll be messy. (Think of it as a way to show off the, what, three nice photos I managed to snap?)

I already knew the crowd was going to be huge. I mean, it's Lana del Rey and people were lining up at the venue since 10am, and probably even earlier. I got there much later than I planned to, around 4:30pm or so, and I greatly underestimated the amount of people there. (I also underestimated the sheer amount of flower crowns in the audience. I don't think I've seen so many flower crowns in one place in my entire life.) The line eventually came to circle the entirety of the park by City Hall. I didn't think there was any possibility of my being at the front, and that was okay -- juts thinking about how brutal and rabid it would be at the pit was enough to let my late arrival slide.

Turns out I did end up pretty close. I don't know what it is about concerts and how I manage to luck out, no matter how late I arrive -- I'm not a crowd bully, I promise! -- but I ended up in the second row, towards the side. And if I thought I underestimated the size of the crowd as it snaked around the park, the sheer size of it only seemed bigger inside the venue. The concert hadn't even started yet and already people were pushing, and I had to steady myself so as to not fall over. I found myself envying those at the very front -- not because they were at the very front, but because they had a barrier to hold on to. By now it was more or less too late to head for a safer spot, seeing as the auditorium was full, and people were reluctant to move out of the way for anyone.

I'll say it now: that was the most brutal concert I've ever been to. Ever. Before this, it was the crowd at Arctic Monkeys back in September, but the crowd for Lana made that past experience look tame and family-friendly in comparison. And yes, I'm still saying that even though I got kicked in the head by a crowdsurfer at AM's show. The moment the lights dimmed the crowd made a wave towards the stage, and I knew it was only going to get more chaotic.

But enough of the crowd for now -- let's move on to Lana! Lana was fantastic. I never thought I'd be able to see her perform live, and I'm glad I didn't let this opportunity pass. She played her new song, West Coast, which was even better live. Here's her setlist from that evening.

Eventually some very tall and very rude people (and extremely hardcore Lana fans, judging from the fact that one of them tried to throw their underwear on stage and hit me in the head with it at one point...yuck) elbowed me and pushed me back, so I had to watch some of the concert through people's phones (or mine). As a result I got more videos than I did pictures. Pardon the bad quality, though. You can watch them on my Instagram: Born to DieBorn to Die (again), Gods and Monsters, Blue Jeans, West Coast, Young and Beautiful.

Anyway, after many a beautiful chorus, Lana sung the last words of National Anthem, signed autographs for those in the center front, and walked off stage. Once I made my way out of the crowd I walked over to the merchandise table, but the line was way too long so I figured I'd pass on a shirt. I met my friend Jasmine after the show as we couldn't find each other beforehand, and after a run-in (or drive-by, technically) with impatient strangers in the parking lot, I enjoyed the rest of the night as we made our way home.

All in all, Lana was glorious live, and I continue to admire her talent and how much she changes up her songs! One thing's for sure, though: next time she comes around town, I am definitely getting seats as opposed to standing. I love you, Lana, I really do, but I plan to keep my limbs intact -- all the better to dance along to your new tunes to!

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