Lana’s new album Ultraviolence is out today and I thought I’d share with you all a blog post that I wrote last year about the time I met her.
I recently spotted posters for Lana’s new album around Greenwich Village in Manhattan
What’s also interesting about this blog post has nothing to do with kissing or Lana Del Rey. When I read this again, it serves as a sharp reminder at how different my life is now. Two years ago I was unemployed, rudderless and calling turtles on the Great Barrier Reef my friends. Contrast that to right now – I am typing this from the 12th floor roof deck of my apartment building. It’s a warm early summer’s evening and I’m looking out over the West Village in Manhattan. I can’t help but reflect and think to myself – wow Sarah, you did the whole reinvent your life thing pretty darn spectacularly well.
I haven’t wrapped my ears around her new album yet (I’ve penciled it in as a must do come the weekend) but I note that early reviews are mostly positive.
Good deal. Today’s music scene needs more interesting and unique sounds and right now there’s no one else like her. But enough about singing my own or Lana’s praises and let’s jump right into the fun part – the story about the night I met her..
Yep. It’s true.
I kissed Lana Del Rey.
On the cheek, but we can leave that little detail aside for a moment while I tell you the story of how this played out.
Bit of backstory first.. who could forget that god awful Saturday Night Live performance Lana gave back in January 2012? And all the shlack she rightfully copped for her very ordinary performance that night?
Lana laid low for a few months after that.
Sorted herself out, honed her live act and probably spent time coming to grips with the massive worldwide and overnight success she found herself immersed in at the time.
Lana re-emerged in July that year to resurrect her career and her reputation as a live performer at an unknown one-day music festival for her very first Australian performance.
And I was there, of course.
Spin Off is an annual festival held only in Adelaide, Australia. It is billed as a spin off from the much larger and well-known Australian music festival that happens every July called Splendour In The Grass. I have never been to Splendour. It’s my number one Aussie unfulfilled festival crush.
It’s July 2012 and what was I doing back then? Oh yes. Unemployed and pretty lost with the world, I’d been up in far north Queensland scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef while escaping the winter that blankets in the southern parts of Australia at that time of year. This was a pretty amazing time in my life. I had spent many weeks under the water and slowly feeling better about life in general, while keeping company with giant resident turtles called Brian and schools of butterfly fish.
I was technically living in Adelaide at this time. At least some of my stuff was. But I was really living between 3 cities. I had stuff in my hometown of Melbourne, some in my adopted city of Adelaide and some where I was spending all my time, Cairns. I flew back to Adelaide from Cairns just to attend this event. The next day and I was back on a plane flying north again, desperate to get back to the warmth and the reef.
So here I am. Spinning off in the front row. I’m not really sure how I got there. I started at the back of the audience and as the crowds thinned in between sets, I crept ever closer towards the stage and next thing I knew, I am front row centre stage left for Lana’s set.
Immediately in front of me is an elbow-high barrier that I’m trying not to let the surging crowd push me in to. Beyond the barrier, there’s about a metre gap where press and photographers are standing between me and the stage. I’ve heard that these guys are allowed to stay for the first song only, then they’ve been ordered to clear out. Good riddance.
‘Lana! Lana! Lana!’ screamed the anticipating crowd.
Adelaide generally has a difficult time attracting quality music acts. It’s no where near as large or has the same pull as Sydney or Melbourne. I couldn’t believe that an act of such international notoriety as Lana Del Rey was turning up to perform on a cold winter’s day and under the roof of what the Adelaide showgrounds really is.. a giant tin shed.
She emerges from the wings and steps onto the stage. In a baby jade lace dress with matching jade ribboned headband. Her frock is belted and cinched at the waist. It’s short. Check out the pics I took.
She’s standing right in front of me. I can hear her voice when she sings and I don’t need the aid of the microphone. On stage and she’s so close to me, I can even see the hair on her legs.
In the middle of Video Games, Lana starts making her way off the stage, down these makeshift steps and into the gap where those photographers were standing a few songs ago.
God damn. She’s walking right towards me.
If the crowd around me wasn’t crushing me before, it certainly is now.
Soon enough I am confronted with the image of Lana Del Rey standing right in front of me.
Eye to eye and I didn’t quite know what to do.
In the rush of this moment, I grabbed her hand that wasn’t holding a microphone and gently pulled her towards me. I reached in and kissed her on her right cheek. I saw her ear and her headband up close. She felt warm and it felt crazy and she didn’t resist me. I pulled away and she was beaming. Rarely does she smile in any image you see of her. I let go of her hand as she sashayed her way back up and onto the stage.
I have to say, Lana Del Rey is seriously one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Not one to notice this kind of stuff but I can appreciate a very stunning woman when I am looking at one. Those sultry, 1960s housewife-turned-vixen eyes. That oversized and expressive mouth. All that hair. All those curves. She is stunningly and nostalgically beautiful.
Here’s something else I can tell you. Lana can sing.
I thought her performance that night was smashing, and not just because she was 3 feet away from me. It was such an improvement on her SNL debacle.
And that’s probably exactly what Lana wanted. A small and safe live audience that was as far away from anything related to Saturday Night Live as she could possibly get. It’s like she got out a globe, found New York City, spun the world around to find its exact polar opposite and her finger landed on Adelaide.
Did I wash my hand or cheek after she touched it? Yeah, I did. But..
I kissed Lana Del Rey. Have you?