Before walking the red carpet at the Grammys Sunday evening, singer Lana Del Rey made a stop at Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center Friday evening as part of her “LA to the Moor” world tour.
Embarking on her first arena tour, Del Rey is making her way through the U.S. until late February and will tour in Australia and Europe in early spring.
The State College show was particularly unique in that it was the only university show in the arena tour.
It was also the first show the singer has performed in central Pennsylvania, only performing in Pennsylvania near Philadelphia prior to this tour.
Accompanying Del Rey as the opening act for this leg of the tour was Columbian-American R&B singer Kali Uchis.
The flashy soulful singer flaunted her physique in a flowy white belly shirt and body rolled around the stage while singing her most popular singles.
Uchis’ set received praise from the crowd, but nothing compared to the deafening roar that welcomed Del Rey as she took the stage.
The singer opened with “13 Beaches,” which is a slower love song and a surprising opening choice, but that didn’t stop the dedicated Del Rey fans from screaming during the quiet lulls in the song.
After Del Rey noted how excited she was to be in Pennsylvania, she transitioned into “Pretty When You Cry,” the unofficial “Cola” replacement and ultimate vocal performance song of this tour’s set list.
Prior to 2017, Del Rey almost always performed her fan favorite song “Cola,” which features a high C#6 note.
The singer recently decided to retire the song due to a line referencing Harvey Weinstein, as Del Rey is an active advocate against sexual abuse and a proud supporter of the #MeToo movement, as evidenced by her white flower worn on the red carpet Sunday evening.
With “Cola” off the set list, Del Rey adapted “Pretty When You Cry” to include the high notes that fans look forward to, creating a dramatic moment in the show that tops “Cola” altogether.
Del Rey altered a lot of the other songs on her set list, changing some of the lyrics and notes to create a unique personal concert experience for her fans.
She referenced her recent lawsuit against Radiohead, changing a lyric about owning memories to owning copyrights, and changed a lyric in “Born to Die” about kissing to something much more provocative.
She also played with the harmonies in her songs and sang slightly different notes in some choruses, changes only dedicated fans would be able to point out.
Del Rey’s live vocal performance is perfection — sounding better than she does in any of her records.
The way she transitions from some of her lighter sounding choruses to her lower moodier verses is a testament to her undeniable vocal talent.
Del Rey appeared to be in a genuinely happy mood for the evening’s performance, interacting with fans more than in normal shows and taking requests from the audience, which is something the singer rarely, if ever, does.
She even stopped her show to talk about her particularly good mood, saying that it was due to her visit earlier in the day at the Children’s Hospital in Washington D.C., where she sang to patients and answered questions on a talk show run by the children.
Del Rey normally ends her show with a big flashy production number, “Off to the Races,” but stopped the show before the number to ask fans if it was OK to do something a little different.
Instead, Del Rey and the crowd sung a short snippet of the song “Get Free” in acapella unison — the final song off the singer’s most recent album, “Lust for Life,” which is dedicated to choosing life in a time when many can feel like giving up.
These special moments in Friday’s show created an extraordinary feel and experience that is extremely uncommon for university shows.
Del Rey’s perfect vocal performance, special set list and connection with her fans led to a special evening filled with light, love and meaningful music that State College won’t likely see again for quite some time.