It seemed fitting that Lana Del Rey essentially opened for herself Sunday night at the Frank Erwin Center. Judging by the stadium's pre-show hum and the screaming response to the first light-dim, fans didn't even bat a false eyelash at Kali Uchis' day-before cancellation.
This was, after all, a Lana Del Rey concert. To many in attendance, the name at the top of the bill was the only one that mattered.
The lack of a set change or a break between performers made it that much easier to buy into what Lana Del Rey is selling on her "LA to the Moon" tour: an unashamedly contrived sense of Americana. Nostalgia for something that the 32-year-old songstress did not live through, set in a state she was not born to. California melancholia. Sad beaches.
And T-shirts with roses on the sleeves.
Surrounded by palm trees, Del Rey began her opening performance of “13 Beaches” crooning, “I don’t belong in the world.” But her fans already knew as much. The yells of “I love you!” and “Lanaaaaa” you expect at the start of a show, or even the start of each song, did not stop with Del Rey’s fans. The incessant support blurred the line of heckling.
During “Yayo,” Del Rey poked fun at the crowd’s aggressive participation and made her one joke of the night, asking mid-song, “Did this turn into a Q&A?”
Before her two closing numbers, "Summertime Sadness" and "Love," Del Rey unhurriedly descended the stage stairs and, mic off, mingled with her front-row fans who, as she mentioned earlier, had reportedly camped out overnight. She accepted a portrait of herself and a homemade Valentine and posed for selfies.
Two fans who took the pause as a cue to leave were loudly booed as they walked out. One departing attendee's call of, "Hey, well she's not singing!" elicited louder boos.
For the real fans (the ones to whom the “Saturday Night Live” performance never really mattered), Del Rey needed only be Del Rey. She needed only descend, if only for a few minutes, from the hazy reality she’s crafted for herself and prove herself (slightly) real.
Despite giant on-theme images of the moon flashing throughout the show, Del Rey’s Austin performance was more about proving the songstress’ ethereal persona can withstand landing on Earth.
And, as her fans will scream at you, she holds up just fine.