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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Review: Lana Del Rey’s ‘One Very Special Show’ disappoints amid stormy chaos

Lana+Del+Rey+holds+a+microphone+as+she+sings.+Her+performance+was+delayed+by+two+hours+due+to+wind+and+lightning.
Kristina DaPonte
Lana Del Rey holds a microphone as she sings. Her performance was delayed by two hours due to wind and lightning.

When storm clouds peeked over the Green Monster, the hot air in Fenway Park turned cold with anxiety.

The crowd at the sold-out stadium was waiting to see Lana Del Rey, born Elizabeth Grant, the songstress who’s been a music icon since her swooning “Video Games” went viral in 2011. Thirteen years later, she was set to make her stadium debut at 7:30 June 20 at Fenway Park. 

While her musical prowess has been sustained in ever-changing serenity and audible bliss, her concert experiences have long held a more complicated reputation. While seasoned fans will remember her disastrous “Saturday Night Live” performance that unfairly followed her long into her career, nowadays, Del Rey’s concerts are every bit as enchanting as her music. Though there is one hitch: She has a penchant for arriving late.

By 8:15 p.m., she had not yet stepped foot on the meticulously-crafted stage adorned with the usual decor for her shows. A swingset for her to rock back and forth on while performing “Video Games” and flower bushes reflective of the springtime sounds of her acclaimed album “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” were just a few of the accouterments that made the stage feel authentically “Lana.”

What followed the dark clouds and lightning strikes could only be described as chaos. Confused concertgoers flooded into the innards of Fenway Park as the concert was officially postponed due to the weather. People, exhausted from the 90-degree heat, scrounged for water, food and liquor.

For the next two-and-a-half hours, Del Rey took to social media to provide inaccurate updates about the weather delays and offer fans a ham-handed opportunity to vote on whether she would reschedule her concert for the following night, which was almost certainly out of her control. Even Fenway Park’s employees shouted at the concertgoers to go home.

As 10 p.m. rolled around, the conglomeration of wet, angry and confused fans were finally blessed with a vague update: The show would commence in 30 minutes.

The rain had subsided, though the seats were still wet and the turf was doubtlessly soggy, but when the clock struck half past 10 p.m., the floodlights ceased and Del Rey took the stage.

Her performance was a triumph. From her opening song “Without You,” her commanding vocals poured into the stadium and weaved their way through every seat, immediately erasing painful memories of the calamitous pre-show events.

The first few songs of the set were electric. One of her oldest hits, “West Coast,” radiated with panging guitar chords and booming drums. Del Rey hung backward off a stage banister, singing out to each captivated audience member: “I can see my baby swingin’ / he’s crazy y cubano como yo, la-la.” 

While the next few songs were every bit as mesmerizing — “Cherry” was a particularly intense and dominating standout — a similar sort of confusion festered as Del Rey began to introduce a surprise guest.

The move was predictable. Recently, Del Rey has invited Jack Antonoff, Tommy Genesis and Jon Batiste to join her on stage at her shows, all of whom are her recent collaborators. Perhaps the crowd was about to see Father John Misty or Weyes Blood, both featured on the songs “Let The Light In” and “For Free,” respectively.

Not quite. Del Rey was joined by Mason Ramsey, the viral “Walmart Yodeling Kid” who was internet-famous six years ago, but has now built a legitimate country music career. The two performed a duet of Ramsey’s single “Blue Over You.”

Concert attendees wave flashlights in the air during a duet performance of “Blue Over You” with Mason Ramsey. Ramsey was one of three guest performers during the concert. (Elizabeth Scholl)

The performance was great. Lovely, even. To some, the moment may have lived up to the concert’s marketing headline: “One Very Special Show.” 

But after nearly three hours of waiting for the concert to start, there was no chance Del Rey was going to do her usual two-hour set. Conceding her own music for distantly related artists’ hits felt cheaper than authentic.

The rest of the show was a hodgepodge of Del Rey’s greatest hits and spotty guests. Singer-songwriter Stephen Sanchez joined Del Rey on stage to sing his TikTok-viral song “Until I Found You.” Like Del Rey and Ramsey’s duet, the performance was good, but an air of frustration clouded the damp stadium as the already-shortened show cut out more of Del Rey’s solo time.

Toward the end, she brought out rapper and former Migos member Quavo. The two debuted their new collaboration, “Tough.” It appeared Quavo may have been lip-syncing, but Del Rey sounded on point.

Del Rey capped the show off with her iconic “Video Games.” While she sang with grace, Del Rey repeatedly reminded the audience that the show was cut short. She also charged past Fenway’s noise curfew of 11:00 p.m. by 30 minutes, likely incurring significant fines — a steep sword to fall on for the audience’s enjoyment. 

Certainly, some audience members hoped she would keep going even longer, but the combination of rainy deluges, hours of scorching heat and charged feelings of frustrated confusion left tens of thousands of fans in the stadium exasperated.

It was a spectacle — both in good and bad ways. Most of the circumstances surrounding the show were out of Del Rey’s control. Had she taken the stage at her scheduled time (a foolish expectation, as most fans know), perhaps she could’ve given the audience what they paid hundreds of dollars for. 

Despite the buildup seemingly marking it as a can’t-miss event, a stadium debut that would etch itself as one of Fenway Park’s all-time-great performances, Del Rey’s “One Very Special Show” was anything but that promise.

Del Rey looks into the crowd while she performs. She performed an hour-long set, including songs like “Summertime Sadness,” “Without You” and “Video Games.”
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About the Contributors
Kristina DaPonte
Kristina DaPonte, Lifestyle Editor
Kristina DaPonte is a third-year journalism major with a minor in communication studies. She is the deputy lifestyle editor for The News as well as a contributor to Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine. She's excited to bring exciting, engaging stories to the table. Follow her @dapontekristina on Twitter for updates.
Elizabeth Scholl
Elizabeth Scholl, Deputy Photo Editor
Elizabeth Scholl is a second-year pharmaceutical sciences major with a minor in business administration. She currently serves as one of the deputy photo editors for The News. Her favorite events to photograph include sports, concerts and anything The News needs last minute.