Lana Del Rey cast her spell over New York on Saturday (Sept. 21), kicking off the first leg of The Norman Fucking Rockwell! Tour at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater with a stacked setlist of older hits, newer deep cuts and a few special collaborations.
Luckily, the warm day had transitioned into a perfectly mild evening, and Del Rey fans from all over Long Island and New York City filed into the amphitheater. Many were eager to see if Del Rey would premiere songs from her sixth studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell!, released on Aug. 30 and which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. (She did, in the form of the ballad “Bartender,” along with performing the title track for the first time outside of Instagram Live.)
Opting to go without an opening act, Del Rey — wearing a lacy, Victorian-inspired midi dress — appeared at around 8:30 PM on the palm and fruit tree-adorned stage, made to look like a lush garden. Branches hanging from the ceiling were mingled with lights; a fruit tree commanded the right side. (The latter looked rather fake…until Del Rey picked a peach and took a bite from it later in the set.) Amid all of this, two backup singers/dancers wearing short-shorts and bralettes lounged atop the piano as Del Rey launched into “Norman Fucking Rockwell,” and it was off to the races, if you will.
Early on, Del Rey brought out her friend Adam Cohen to assist her with a cover of his late father's 1974 hit "Chelsea Hotel #2," which Del Rey recorded in 2013. (Her show also happened to fall on Leonard Cohen's birthday, as Del Rey pointed out.) As Cohen and Del Rey traded verses, the audience — which was otherwise keen to sing along the entire show — was silent and rapt. (Cohen wasn’t the only notable last name invited to Del Rey’s stage, later; the singer and Sean Lennon performed their collaboration "Tomorrow Never Came" from her 2017 album Lust For Life.)
For the most part, Del Rey performed her songs as written, though she did ad lib here and there, cheekily changing the lyrics of “Born to Die” to “fuck you hard in the pouring rain” in one instance. Thundering rock versions of “Blue Jeans” and "Off to the Races" inspired major singalongs, as did “Summertime Sadness,” which had Del Rey rewarding the crowd with a “fuck yeah” when it was over.
Finally, Del Rey talked about how the evening was a full circle moment for her, as the very first show she ever saw was Bob Dylan at Jones Beach. “I feel pretty damn lucky,” she told the crowd. The feeling was mutual.
Norman Fucking Rockwell
Bartender (live debut)
Chelsea Hotel #2 (with Adam Cohen)
Born to Die
Pretty When You Cry
Change / Black Beauty / Young and Beautiful
Ride (with “God Knows I Tried” outro)
Tomorrow Never Came (with Sean Lennon)
Mariners Apartment Complex
Off to the Races
Shades of Cool