bY tOM bERGAN
Rules are meant to be broken, right? Specifically, I am talking about the rule that says you should stay where your assigned seat is during a concert. More specifically, I am talking about the moment in which I decided we (my friends and I) needed to try our hand at getting as close as possible to the stage for Lorde’s encore, which was going to happen any minute after the confetti-blowout of “Green Light”. A frantic jacket grab and fast paced walk throughout the pit later, and we found ourselves mere feet away from Ella and her beautifully fluffy pink outfit, groveling at the stage which became altar for the evening. With no more than herself and a drum machine, Lorde jumped right into “Loveless,” the counterpart of her “Melodrama” track “Hard Feelings,” which was performed earlier in the evening. Somewhere between the multiple spellings of the track's name that occurs throughout the song, I found myself surrendered to the music and dancing like an absolute fool, more so than usual. Suddenly I made eye contact with two girls, younger than myself to the point where they were definitely born in a different millennia, and with the exchange of a head-nod and smile we somehow communicated in a single moment that “Yes, we are both at very different points in our lives, and yes sometimes life throws us curveballs that are hard BUT we are here now and it is glorious and we are dancing like fools and life is well.” And that is what matters.
Have you ever gasped so hard for breathe that you suddenly remember that moment in which your doctor offered to prescribe an inhaler that one time you booked an appointment because you had some pressure in your chest? But you thought to yourself “It’s just a case of allergies, I’ll be fine.” That is where I found myself as the opening saxophone notes to “BOOGIE” blared out throughout the speakers in The Pageant on a frigid Tuesday night. The cold rain stuck to my clothes as if it was applied with adhesive glue suddenly transformed to sweat, as “America’s Favorite Boyband” skipped onto the stage and nearly incited a riot in the process. Never before have I experienced a crowd that synced up the thrashing of its bodies so perfectly, a formidable match against the foundation of the venue we inhabited. Luckily the floor of the Pageant held strong, and BROCKHAMPTON broke all of the pre-written rules about what it means to be a boy-band for the next hour and a half. Again I found myself making eye contact with strangers in the crowd, exchanging no words yet somehow both acknowledging that this moment was a special one, a notion that should always be recognized when it occurs.
By Lauren Smith
At the ripe age of eighteen I was newly single from my first ever relationship, training for a half marathon, and desperately ready for a change. I remember playing Lorde’s debut album, Pure Heroine, on shuffle as I went for lengthy sunset runs through trails and trees with my best friend at the time. Her music feels electrifying- a means to escaping the drab normalcy of a teenage suburban lifestyle. “I love these roads where the houses don’t change, where we can talk like there’s something to say”, she sings. With an album out at the age of seventeen, Lorde connected intensely with the international youth who reaches for something more. Her painfully honest lyrics tell stories of the rush of adolescent house parties, young love, and the slow process of coming of age. Lorde sings of “counting dollars on the train to the party” and feeling “hollow like the bottles that we drain”, leaving her audience to image a scene of unassumingly fabulous high school girls drinking through the ‘burbs of New Zealand.
On her second night of the Melodrama tour, after opening with hit single “Sober”, she explained that these massive parties were never all that, asking her crowd of adoring St. Louisans if they’ve “ever felt alone when a hundred people were in their house”. The vibrant community of fans that gravitate towards Lorde included a bearded man in a pink dress and trench coat and grown woman sporting space buns and a metallic rainbow top on this particular evening- the kind of confident, shimmering people who are ready to dance on a Friday night. Her lacy black two-piece pantsuit was completed with a floor-length cape, emitting an aura somewhat relative to a brooding moon child. Lorde caught us up on her last few years, accepting that she’d always be a vivid dreamer and over-reactor and claiming that she’s learned a lot about herself before slowing it down for a stunning cover of Frank Ocean’s “Solo”. For the last few sets she jumped and danced around in a light pink tulle bodysuit that emphasized her every movement. After an explosive performance of “Green Light”, she left the eclectic crowd of Midwesterners feeling invigorated and unstoppable.
By Caleigh Horan
There aren’t enough words in the English language to explain the range of emotions I experienced whilst in the presence that is Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, better known by her stage name, Lorde. This concert was a highly-anticipated one for me, as I spent the majority of last summer pouring over Melodrama, her sophomore slam-dunk. That being said, I was eagerly waiting to lose my mind during fast-paced bops like Green Light and Perfect Places and to shed a few tears to the heart-wrenching Writer In the Dark and Liability. While all of these scenarios did occur on this twisted Friday night, the moment that struck me the deepest was found in an old friend.
Ribs is a song that I’ve resonated with for almost five years now, with its angsty tones of teenage bliss. As I’ve gotten older, its lyrics have held onto me like my favorite sweater, warm and familiar. While Lorde explained that she had written this song after a weekend with friends when she was sixteen years old, I thought about how I felt hearing this song for the first time around the same age. Back then, Ribs encapsulated the impending fears about the future that served as a backdrop for my high school experience. I wondered what my sixteen year-old self would think of me now, at 21, three quarters done with undergrad on the brink of my dreams. Would she be proud of me? All of these thoughts danced around my brain as the expected synth beat of the song was replaced by a slow, emotional piano. As the song descended into the chanting of “I want it back,” I thought about the moments from my past that I longed for: the simplicity of a lazy Sunday afternoon spent listening to records, the comfort of a home-cooked meal shared with family, the weightlessness of youth.
But the more I reminisced, the more I understood that I have found these things I long for in different forms. Simplicity now comes in the form of a long walk across campus on a chilly Spring afternoon. Home-cooked meals are currently the product of my crock-pot experiments shared over FaceTime with my mom. And I still feel weightless, in a way that I could have never dreamed. I have built a life for myself here at school, one that I am proud to live. As messy and emotional and chaotic that can be on a daily basis, I am happy.
The lyric that always stood out to the most to me in Ribs was, “you’re the only friend I need”. As I screamed these words in unison with Lorde, tears streaming down my face, I noticed that both of my hands were over my heart, and the lyric took on an entirely new meaning. I had always associated the friend in the lyric with one of my friends throughout life, one I absolutely could not do without. In that moment, I realized that the only friend that I absolutely cannot do without is myself. So yes, it is really, really scary getting old. These days it feels as though time is a train that I am perpetually thousands of feet behind. But with each day that passes, my legs get a little stronger, my mind focuses a little harder, and my heart opens a little wider. I remind myself that these are the good kind of growing pains, and I laugh until my ribs get tired.