BURGETTSTOWN ― The celestial voice of Lana Del Rey enthralled a sold-out crowd of 22,000 Tuesday at The Pavilion at Star Lake.
Fans traveled from as far as Toronto, Chicago and Detroit to stand together on a splendid moon-lit, summer-like night, absorbing Del Rey’s slow, serene melodies, edgy lyrics and blurred-genre artistry.
The set launched with lovely piano twinklings as Del Rey, in a boho-western dress and black knee-high boots, took the stage to eardrum-rattling cheers.
She started with “Norman Rockwell,” her chart-topping, Grammy-nominated title track to 2019’s universally lauded album. Yeah, there’s another word in the middle of that song/album title, but it’s not a word printed in newspapers.
“Arcadia” followed, likewise with stark, indie-folk instrumentation, allowing the spotlight to remain on Del Rey’s pretty voice.
Three female backup singers supplied a chorus-of-angels element when necessary. Though, the rich, wide-ranged and emotional but well-measured singing of Del Rey was the shining star, transitioning effortlessly to songs that brought more of a dream-pop wistfulness or a selection like “A&W” solidified by hip-hop beats.
Several songs in, Del Rey’s bandmates emerged more. A drummer wielded mallets to add to the atmospheric mix, reaching a breathtaking swelling crescendo on “Chemtrails Over The Country Club.”
A table adorned with a long, lit candle and picture frame stood at one corner of the stage, giving Del Rey a prop to sit at for one song. An antique-looking, floor-length oval mirror stood at the opposite corner.
Six backup dancers regularly added interpretative moves. They danced with candelabras, swung gracefully over the front-row pit on wooden swings, and sprinted somewhat chaotically with worried looks that symbolized the instinct to flee during “Ultraviolence,” a song about an aggressive, potentially abusive relationship.
Joined by three male dancers, they even did some tandem country-western steps amid a two-song suite where Del Rey resplendently covered Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.”
Many audience members wore outfits inspired by Del Rey’s aesthetic, including long white dresses and hair garlands. They sang along to choruses with a facial concentration suggesting much more than rote memorization, but full-on relating to the sensitive and passionate feelings the singer conveyed.
Del Rey flashed ample smiles throughout, including a moment during the John Denver/”Rocky Mountain High” reference of “The Grants,” which started with heavenly a cappella singing by the 38-year-old headliner and her backup vocalists.
Del Rey took her turn on the wooden swings, gliding above spectators for “Video Games.”
Before the set-closing, cinematic “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard,” she gave a lengthy thank you speech that sounded unrehearsed and heartfelt.
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She wished love and self-acceptance for everyone, and acknowledged on this next-to-the-last night of her tour that she doesn’t often venture our way and hoped there’d be a return visit sometime in the future.
It would be hard for her to top Tuesday’s effort, but let’s hope that happens.
Making the night extra special was the marvelous warmup set from alt-country artist Nikki Lane.
Her twangy, up-tempo tunes energized the amphitheater.
Like her headlining set last December at Thunderbird Music Hall, Lane also charmed with her personality, noting she’s made a living singing about ex’s, but every once in awhile she writes a happy love song, as on “Send The Sun.”
But she ended with her bread-and-butter, declaring she’d never again depend on a man for material or spiritual fulfillment, as she sang the empowering and catchy “Denim & Diamonds.”
Lane made a lot of new fans in Burgettstown.
Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times and easy to reach at firstname.lastname@example.org