Heading back up the hill yet again to Sidney Myer Music Bowl for another emotionally charged evening was not what I expected to be doing just less than a week after Bon Iver’s amazing set, but there I was. Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, the Aotearoa/New Zealand born musician known to the world as Lorde, was here finally for her rescheduled half decade return to Naarm/Melbourne. I was lucky enough to catch her last time she was in town too, at the same venue, and I can happily say that she’s taking her live performance to the next level.

Opening for Lorde was MUNA, an LA-based indie pop three piece, known for their collaborations with the likes of The Knocks and Phoebe Bridgers. They delivered fun summer-pop, a perfect addition to Lorde’s Solar Power Tour. A fiery stage presence was led by lead singer/songwriter Katie Gavin, dancing across the stage and wooing the audience with sing-along moments. Favourite songs included Silk Chiffon, What I Want and Home By Now.

After our supports left the stage, the crowd was in a frenzy, having already exploded into waves of cheers every time anything remotely like Lorde moved around behind the curtain. The audience was full of old and new fans, young and not-so-young. Fans all three eras of Lorde’s career were clearly on display: the old Pure Heroine fans, the millennials and Tumblr kids, the Melodrama girlies, with their love of bisexual lighting and coming of age energy, and the Solar Power groovers, ready to ride the wave of an endless summer.

Opening with Leader of a New Regime, the dynamic slow burner deep cut from the most recent record, 2021’s Solar Power, Lorde introduced us to The Solar Power Tour. But of course, she wasn’t here to divide her fans, so immediately after this we were blessed with the back-to-back cuts of Homemade Dynamite, and Buzzcut Season. Dynamite was a true banger and crowd pleaser, but Buzzcut Season reminded me of days long ago, listening to Lorde’s debut on a road trip with my family, pondering what future laid in store for me when I finally grew up. These themes of aging, self-exploration and heartbreak became clearer than ever, hearing her full repertoire on display.

The stagecraft on display was captivating, with a long staircase in the centre of the stage, leaning against what appeared to be a glowing sun. This staircase would rotate throughout the show, sometimes having Ella climb up during heavier emotional moments. When the fantastic Liability, off 2017’s Melodrama played, she sat halfway up and told us stories for a few minutes before the song properly began, speaking softly over the repeated piano intro. She told us of how she’d finally fallen in love with our city, how she’d walked the streets and seen the spirit that guides us all. She then reminisced about the importance of the song, and the love she’s felt seeing how connected so many people have felt to it. A true tale of rejection, and coming to terms with one’s own instability, that’s become an anthem to so many people, especially those who feel left behind from the world around them.

During the track Stoned at the Nail Salon one line stood out to me and resonated heavily with the whole show. “Cause all the music you loved at sixteen, you’ll grow out of, and all the times they will change it’ll all come around”. Lorde’s music transcends these rules, as shown by the demographic present. It just keeps coming back again and again, and to be listening to songs, some written when she was just fifteen, and still resonating in new ways, that deserves a legacy.

Rounding out the set with many tracks off the new album, including Hard Feelings, California and Oceanic Feeling, the only new track I missed was Mood Ring, which did leave me a little disappointed, but I was more than happy to have this compensated by the sheer volume of classics from the previous albums. These included Green Light, Perfect Places, Tennis Court, the amazing Ribs and a victorious encore of Royals and Team. Lorde might be “Kinda over being told to throw my hands up in the air” but we were not. The energy and maturity of the performance was a lifetime ahead of my last time catching the superstar, and I’m so excited to see what she has in store for us next time she visits.