Lana Del Rey brought American Express presents BST Hyde Park 2023 to a magical end tonight, with a mind-blowing headline performance on the Great Oak Stage.
The singer-songwriter arrived on stage wearing a long floral dress with thigh split, a white ribbon belt with long train – so long it reached the back of the stage – and her hair pinned up, Del Rey launched into the cool melody of recent single A&W; a reminder of just how much power those gentle vocals hold.
Accompanied by three backing singers, clad in silver sequins dresses, and five contortionist dancers, an expertly-choreographed performance continued with Young & Beautiful. “Damn, this is a big crowd,” she beamed.
Making a subtle nod towards her last festival appearance, Del Rey then took a seat in front of a mirror, as a stylist appeared to unpin her hair; her long auburn locks unravelled around her face, as the audience applauded. “This applause is for you,” she said softly.
As the set went on, Del Rey’s tender energy emanated from the stage. Born To Die drew 50,000+ voices singing back at her. At one point, she stepped down off the stage and to the barrier where tearful fans took selfies and shook her hand. “You guys made it possible for us to tour for 13 years,” she told them.
Slowly bringing her performance to a close, Del Rey performed Summertime Sadness to, once again, a chorus of 50,000+ people. The solemn Did You Know That There Is A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd followed before Del Rey took to a rope swing, decorated in flowers, to perform the mighty Video Games.
“It’s worth it,” she smiled as the music faded.
Holding the special guest slot tonight was indie-folk singer Father John Misty, who arrived on stage to a roar of cheers. “You guys are probably excited about the headliner tonight?” he asked, which only amplified the screams.
Father John Misty, real name Joshua Tillman, adopted his stage name in 2012, following his departure from the band Fleet Foxes. Earlier this year, he was announced as a featured artist on Del Rey’s latest album, Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.
Highlights from his one-hour 10 minute set included Buddy’s Rendezvous, Nancy From Now On and Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins).
Australian alternative rockers Gang of Youths have previously opened for the Foo Fighters and Mumford & Sons. Today, they hit the stage, to support another one of their great inspirations. The five-piece from Sydney, now based in London, performed tracks from their three studio albums, including The Deepest Sighs and the Frankest Shadows and Let Me Down Easy. Lead vocalist, Dave Le’aupepe, humbly told the crowd: “We felt out of place among this world-class talent, so thank you for sitting and standing through this. We love you, thank you very much London.”
Last year, it was announced that Washington-based singer Brian Fennel, aka SYML, collaborated on Paris, Texas from the Lana Del Ray LP Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. Fast-forward seven months and SYML supported Del Rey with a soothing stripped back set featuring tracks Girl, Marion and Mr Sandman, a cover of The Chordettes classic.
French composer and pianist, Riopy, opened the Great Oak Stage this afternoon with a minimalist, pop-jazz and cinematic performance, entwining the essence of classical and pop. Riopy, who grew up in France and moved to London at the age of 21, told the crowd: “You all know the reason why I’m lucky to be here. For those who don’t… the amazing Lana Del Rey.” His piece, Flo, from the Tree Of Light album, features in Del Rey’s 2023 track, Grandfather Please Stand On The Shoulders Of My Father while He’s Deep-Sea Fishing.
Today’s action on the Rainbow Stage presented by British Airways began with wonderfully ethereal, Etta Marcus, whose effortless style and vocals kicked off the Sunday theme successfully. “It’s just me on this big stage today,” she smiled. “I’m going to be playing a really stripped back set, I hope you enjoy it.”
Next up was Canadian rapper, Tommy Genesis – aka Genesis Yasmine Mohanraj – who performed her most popular releases Tommy, 100 Bad and her most recent single, A Woman Is A God. “Thank you for coming to the rainbow stage,” she told the crowd. “I’m a rainbow, so I feel a little at home here.” Then it was the turn of London five-piece, The Last Dinner Party, who were recently labelled ‘the most talked about band in Britain’. Composed of Abigail Morris, Georgia Davies, Emily Roberts, Lizzie Maylan and Aurora Nishevci, the band – described as having a baroque pop and post-punk sound – have revealed themselves to be huge fans of Del Rey.
And with that, this year’s American Express presents BST Hyde Park came to an epic end.
BST Hyde Park 2023 returns this summer for its 10th anniversary year and we’ve got even more legendary headliners this year: All Things Orchestral presented by Myleene Klass and featuring Alfie Boe (23 June), P!NK (24 and 25 June), Guns N’ Roses (30 June), Take That (1 July), BLACKPINK (2 July), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (6 and 8 July), Billy Joel (7 July) and Lana Del Rey (9 July).