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“I’m the ultimate comedown shepherd,” beams Lorde, surveying a hill of worn and fretful festivalgoers in need of some soothing.
Her third album, 2021's Solar Power, received a lukewarm response from some quarters. But at the golden hour, it's a record that comes to life – especially when paired with Lorde's warm, empathetic stage presence.
She leads with “The Path” – the slinky opener. Her new blonde locks complement the golden stage design, as the sun dips behind the Pyramid and bathes the crowd in a yellow glow. Dressed in a violet leotard and red leggings, the 26-year-old looks exactly like Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde – surely no mistake, although it goes unremarked upon.
She struts up and down a central staircase supported by a giant circular disk that glows like a star. “This is the ultimate comedown anthem!” she says with a laugh, before introducing Arlo Parks and Clairo for a rendition of “Stoned at the Nail Salon”.
A live performance of “California” – about leaving the west coast behind and returning home – confirms it as one of the best cuts from Solar Power.
Following Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen's lead yesterday, Lorde is the latest performer to yell “f*** the Supreme Court” in response to its overturning of Roe vs Wade in the US. It's a rare moment of aggression that follows a spoken-word address, which Lorde concludes with “Secrets from a Girl”. But the chilled vibe is quickly restored, thanks to “Mood Ring” and its talk of sun salutations, crystals and transcendental meditation.
“I’m going to need your help to sing this one,” she says, looking lonely as she takes a seat on her staircase to launch into the delicate yet lyrically brutal ballad, “Liability”.
“In the sun I become very powerful and I can get away with almost anything,” she says, introducing the title track from Solar Power.
Her newfound sincerity – a departure from the eye-rolling of her massive 2013 breakout single “Royals” – may be a tricky proposition for those beyond the borders of New Zealand's utopian landscape. But Glastonbury is one place where it feels right at home.
“This place is Disneyland. This is the dream. Every artist looks forward to this weekend of the year,” she says. “So thank you for finding it in your hearts for a little freak from New Zealand.”
Comedown shepherd, sun worshipper, little freak: every version of Lorde shines like the sun this evening.