When it comes to Lana Del Rey, her fans don’t play around, and she’s well aware of it. With only 17 tweets publicly active on her Twitter account as I am writing this, the earliest one is incisive, yet straightforward from 2009. “Love you”. With the room to host a maximum of 140 characters, Twitter has easily gained a reputation for existing as a social media platform that can go from uplifting to catastrophic in the matter of seconds. Eight years later, and hearing those same words come out of Lana Del Rey’s mouth while facing a crowd of 4,500+ passionate individuals last Friday night at the Santa Barbara Bowl felt legendary.

While attendees found themselves figuring out what to wear or when it was time to setup camp in order to be the first in line, there was one individual in particular who received last-minute news that would ultimately alter her Friday night plans.  It wasn’t long after a couple phone calls that Los Angeles-based musician Zella Day soon found herself walking on stage to open for Lana that evening in Santa Barbara. In the span of 30 minutes with just a guitar, an amazing white jumpsuit (featuring a NCA patch that immediately caught my eye), and a voice that made heads turn, this 22 year-old knew exactly what she was getting into. After opening with a couple familiar gems, Zella Day performed 4 new tracks from her forthcoming Sophomore album due out next year.

Once half-past eight rolled around, the chants & cheers only grew louder until the woman of the evening appeared right in front of our very own eyes. This particular date was extra special for a variety of reasons, one being that Lana Del Rey shared her admiration for the venue back in August when she announced “On Sept 8 I’ll be playing the Santa Barbara Bowl, one of the most gorgeous venues in the country!” As Lana walked across the stage smiling from ear to ear while waving and greeting everyone she could before singing the first line of “Cruel World”, everyone was on Cloud Lana. What might be her longest song to date, and known as the first track on Ultraviolence from 2014, it was the perfect opener allowing everyone to loosen up. Fans had lined up as early as Thursday afternoon, with the size increasing by the hour despite the warm temperatures that Friday brought. As tense as the environment was prior to the doors opening, the echoing sound of Lana’s soundcheck earlier that day instantly replaced the anxiety of getting to the front and sent everyone into a calming state.
With every ounce of shyness out the window, LDR took every opportunity in between songs to acknowledge how special this was for her, and even provided a bit of insight behind the song “Change” off her latest record Lust For Life. Needless to say that this set had everyone in their feelings 110%, and although there wasn’t an encore – it didn’t matter. While on Cloud Lana, everything just felt right as it was. What meant more than an encore was something that kept those individuals motivated to stick it through the heat, and it happened. In proper LDR fashion, she hopped off stage mid-set to take pictures and embrace those in the crowd for as long as she could until it was time to hop back on stage and continue the show. Witnessing someone of this caliber take control of a large venue, and transform it effortlessly into an intimate experience where it feels as if you’re the only person in the room that she’s singing to, if even for a second, is beyond rare nowadays. So for everyone that made “that hike” up the hill (or hitched a ride via trolley), it will be a night that most of us will never forget.

Set List:
1. Cruel World
2. Cherry
3. Shades of Cool
4. Blue Jeans
5. Born to Die
6. White Mustang
7. Music to Watch Boys To
8. Ultraviolence
9. Change
10. Ride
11. Love
12. Body Electric
13. Summertime Sadness
14. Video Games
15. Off to the Races