Lana Del Rey BST Hyde Park, 9th July 2023

British Summer Time at Hyde Park has become one of the most anticipated series of events in the gig going calendar. For the last 10 years they have been bringing together the worlds biggest artists for a collection of unforgettable shows that have generated a number of now legendary moments. This year was no exception, featuring legendary artists, record setting attendances and history making headline sets. The 2023 instalment had it all. The honour then falls to Lana Del Rey to be the closing act of this years instalment.

Anticipation is high and there is a tangible buzz throughout Hyde Park all day in preparation for tonight’s show. Lana Del Rey has not played a UK headline show since Brixton Academy in 2017, and with an additional four albums under her belt since that night, there is certainly a lot to look forward to.

Before Lana takes to the stage there are a bevvy of other acts to warm today’s crowd with Syml, Gang of Youths and Father John Misty all putting in memorable performances over on The Great Oak Stage, to the delight of the early risers who have come to soak in the vibes of the day.

Over on the Rainbow Stage Tommy Genesis brings a touch of Canadian rap for a more than up for it crowd. The Last Dinner Party draw a very large crowd for their Florence & The Machine by way of the Bronte Sisters brand of witchcraft and indie pop – they manage to add another feather to their ever expanding cap.

It’s no secret who the true star of today’s show is though. There are Lana Del Rey shirts, jackets, bags and cosplay as far as the eye can see. There is a genuine sense of occasion in the air and as stage time draws near, things have hit a fever pitch. Emerging from behind a curtain Lana appears, a vision in a floral dress with her hair up, big beauty queen style. She glides across the stage, opening with A&W, before delivering the shows first truly show stopping moment with a heart wrenching rendition of Young & Beautiful which gives us the first mass singalong of the evening.

Lana Del Ray performs on Day 10 of American Express Presents BST Hyde Park on July 9, 2023 in London, United, Kingdom. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock)

Bartender is preceded by an interlude where Lana sits at a vanity table and has her hair done by an assistant. It’s a level of commitment to her aesthetic that will be prevalent throughout tonight’s performance. There is an artificiality and aloofness to some of what we see and it only adds to the allure and lore of who Lana is and what she does.

At one point everyone on stage stops to watch a compilation of music video snippets paying reverence and homage to Lana’s history, leading to the set centrepiece run of Ride, Born to Die and Blue Jeans. All of which sound as sublime and game changing as the day they were released over a decade ago

Elsewhere throughout the 90 minute set we get Pretty When You Cry, White Mustang, Ultraviolence and an enrapturing Candy Necklace which sees Lana kneeling atop a piano as she breathlessly serenades the audience.

Between the songs the stage banter is light, but Lana seems to be in a playful mood, smiling and laughing throughout, taking time to meet fans in the front row for pictures and autographs, along with the customary choreography and general vibes she radiates from beneath her well put together facade.

Lana Del Ray performs on Day 10 of American Express Presents BST Hyde Park on July 9, 2023 in London, United, Kingdom. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock)

Diet Mountain Dew, Summertime Sadness lift the audience back up , an extended version of Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd has a gorgeous choir outro this evening. As curfew approaches we do get a reference to the power being cut off, before a spine tingling Video Games brings the set to a tear soaked end, and the lasting image of Lana swinging from a flower adorned rope swing looking over the capacity crowd

Lana Del Rey is a once in a generation talent. She somehow manages to make her performances feel large in scope and intimate in execution. This is stadium melancholia at its finest. The expertly crafted show lovingly pays homage to the golden era of Americana that Lana has always been drawn to. She presents herself as an artist frozen in time memorializing her own career before our very eyes. It’s high concept art, that works just as well as a lived in piece of performance art, as it does a concert going experience.

Lana Del Rey has always been at odds with her peers and tonight’s show is further evidence of that. She came to London tonight for her biggest headline show in the UK and held a captive audience in the palm of her well manicured hands for an hour and a half, silencing all her critics in the process with grace, poise and a cheeky nod and a wink. If there is any criticism to be had here, it’s in the setlist department. Lana is a prolific writer who releases albums faster than she can tour them, it seems inevitable then that there will be glaring omissions from the set. This is the most minor of nitpicks in what is an otherwise spellbinding evening. 9/10

The 2023 American Express presents BST Hyde Park has now concluded for another year, but saw an amazing collection of shows from P!nk, Blackpink and more. For more information about BST Hyde Park and to keep an eye on announcements for 2024 visit the official website.

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