It’s Sunday 9th July 2023, and I’ve been waiting for this day for what feels like a lifetime. After recent tour cancellations before the Covid Pandemic, LDR finally returns to London to debut hits from her latest album Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd alongside past treasured beauties like Born To Die and Video Games.
Lana Del Rey BST Hyde Park 2023 @ Dave Hogan
With support from a wide range of artists, including ones that have previously collaborated with LDR such as Father John Misty and Tommy Genesis, the whole aura pulls on your heartstrings as a flood of dreamy rhythms begin.
Joining the star studded lineup is London’s The Last Dinner Party as they dance across The Rainbow Stage in matching yet uniquely tailored white dresses, with lead singer Abigail in an exquisite Victorian styled garment by Rabbit Baby (aka Sophie Spratley).
Even though they look divine, nothing can beat their combined vocal talent as they sing crowd favourites like ‘Nothing Matters’ and their latest single ‘Sinner’ to close the stage, leading everyone over towards the main event.
The Last Dinner Party @ Dave Hogan
In typical LDR style, the time hits 8:40 pm and we soon realise that there’s a delay to her set, but thankfully it isn’t as long as the star’s most recent terror at Glastonbury. Being amongst a crowd who had all gathered here today JUST to see her, made time move more quickly, as before you know it, different hauls of people are singing their favourite Lana songs in unison, perfectly welcoming her onto the stage.
‘God Bless You London’ appears across a black backdrop as chimes of ‘A/W’ fill the air. Screams from every direction follow instinctively before they’re replaced with the lyrics “Jimmy, Jimmy, cocoa puff, Jimmy, Jimmy ride” as she tunes into her mic and graces the crowd with what we’ve all been waiting for.
It’s been a long time since I’ve witnessed such a buzz of excitement and you truly can’t beat the electricity shooting across the ground right now. The sound is great, which is something BST must have worked on since last year, as every word is heard perfectly and it’s loud enough for you to scream along to, without having to care about the person’s eardrums besides you.
Tommy Genesis @ Dave Hogan
As A/W comes to a close she shares a wide smile through the camera lens which appears almost like a sigh of relief. Wearing a long floral dress with a thigh-high split, accompanied by a white ribbon belt that features a long train that reached the back of the stage, she looks heavenly.
‘Young And Beautiful’ transitions seamlessly into play as the crowd erupts into bursts of cheer. I don’t think there’s a single person here right now not singing along to every word she says, and I also doubt that there’s a dry eye in the house.
Dancers lock onto her train, performing with it so delicately like recreating a scene from The Great Gatsby, which this song featured in, and the camera pans to show us the magical garment in all its glory.
As the song draws to an end, she finally addresses the park, beaming as she says “Damn, this is a big crowd.”
Father John Misty @ Dave Hogan
The ‘Bartender’ interlude begins shortly after as she makes her way over to a picturesque dressing table, set up on the left hand side of the stage. She begins to recreate the famous Glastonbury moment as with a red vape in one hand and a mic in another, “With my bartender, hold me all night. Bartender, our love’s alive”, is drawn from her lips. A hair assistant is stood behind, effortlessly taking down her up-do to replace it with a Priscilla Presley type style which she would keep for the rest of the night.
Songs that flow on afterwards include ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’, ‘The Grants’, ‘Cherry’, and ‘Pretty When You Cry’. The woman honestly has the voice of an angel, throwing in expert vocals that show off her range as she carries on, making us all gasp in pride.
Lana Del Rey @ Dave Hogan
Once we arrive at the middle of the set, the ‘Ride’ interlude begins, showcasing a video of some of Lana’s most iconic moments over the years, almost like representing the ride she’s been on herself.
Before the video comes to an end, she sings a shortened down version of the classic, encouraging everyone to join in. It’s quite possibly one of the greatest moments I have ever witnessed and I definitely won’t be forgetting about this anytime soon.
Just as we think the OG’s are over, ‘Born To Die’ explodes through the speakers and I feel as though I’m about to melt on the spot. Casting my mind back to when I first heard this song, I never thought I’d be there amongst a crowd of 50,000+ people, hearing it live for the first time. At one point, she steps down off the stage towards the barrier where she introduces herself to fans that had been waiting there all day, saying, “You guys made it possible for us to tour for 13 years.”
More crowd favourites follow after such as ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’, ‘Ultraviolence’, ‘White Mustang’ and ‘Diet Mountain Dew’, which is definitely the perfect choice to pick the crowd up again.
Lana Del Rey @ Dave Hogan
Before closing the show we get to hear this time of year’s most anticipated song, ‘Summertime Sadness’, with a slight remix, enough to cause a dance explosion. Everyone’s jumping, twirling and holding hands with all their friends, like a massive sundown party the whole place was invited to, making me feel incredibly sorry for whoever missed it.
A beautiful serenade of ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd’ follows closely after, as she explains it’s one of her favourite songs she ever wrote, evoking great memories for her, which causes the choir stood behind to join in. The whole stage lights up in a frenzy of Holy light.
Before we say goodbye, the twinkles of ‘Video Games’ appears as a swing covered in bashful flowers is lowered to the stage for her to climb upon. The crowd carries the majority of the song which I can only imagine how that must feel like to be on the receiving end of, as LDR continues to spin herself round and round like something from a fairytale. It’s the purest send off to a great evening and the best way to end BST Hyde Park for another year.
by Alicia Tomkinson