Right now, Lana Del Rey is on tour behind her soul-shattering new album Norman Fucking Rockwell! On her tour, she’s already done some big things — singing with Joan Baez, covering Joni Mitchell. And last night, Del Rey played the Hollywood Bowl. This was not just another show for her. Before the show, Del Rey talked about how she wanted to bring out Don Henley to sing “Hotel California” with him. That didn’t happen. Instead, a few things happened that were a whole lot cooler.
Consider: Chris Isaak, who is maybe less famous than Henley but who is otherwise better in every every conceivable way. Del Rey and Isaak are both foxy performers who do sultry torch-song things with the history of American popular music. People have been claiming that Del Rey is Lynchian since she first showed up, and Isaak was the lead in a damn David Lynch movie. They were made for each other.
At last night’s show, Del Rey introduced Isaak, and the two of them proceeded to duet on “Wicked Game,” Isaak’s beloved sexytime standard. Isaak released “Wicked Game” in 1989, but it wasn’t a hit until David Lynch featured it in his 1990 movie Wild At Heart. The song has been covered plenty of times over the years; we at Stereogum even talked to Chris Isaak about that phenomenon in 2011. Together, Del Rey and Isaak — looking cool as hell in, respectively, a lacy white dress and a pink-on-black rockabilly suit, sang “Wicked Game,” with Del Rey doing the whispery backing vocals and the two of them hitting the big sighing chorus note together. It ruled. Here’s a fan-made video:
But Isaak wasn’t the only guest onstage last night. Jack Antonoff, who produced much of Norman Fucking Rockwell!, was also on hand. Before last night, Del Rey had never performed the stunning album closer “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it,” quite possibly the best song she’s ever written. Last night, she sang it while Antonoff sat in on piano, and it turned into a crowd singalong. Another fan-made video is below. (“Hope” comes in after “Video Games,” at the 3:55 mark.)
Another of last night’s guests was Sean Ono Lennon. He and Del Rey sang “Tomorrow Never Came,” their duet from Del Rey’s 2017 album Lust For Life. Here’s a video:
Sean Ono Lennon was not the only son of a late rock legend who sang with Del Rey last night. A few times over the years, Del Rey has covered “Chelsea Hotel No. 2,” Cohen’s 1974 song about Janis Joplin. Last night, Del Rey sang that song with Adam Cohen, Leonard’s song. (They’ve sung it together before; Del Rey also brought out both Lennon and Cohen at her Long Island tour opener last month.)
Before the Hollywood Bowl show, Del Rey shared a video of herself singing Joni Mitchell’s “For Free,” a song that she’s covered at all her recent shows, with a couple of friends. In that rehearsal video, Del Rey sang the song with fellow singer-songwriters Weyes Blood and Zella Day. Last night, the three of them sang the song again onstage, sitting down together while dangling their feet in some kind of pool. Here’s a video:
Del Rey sang one more cover at the show: “Daddy Issues,” a 2015 single from the LA pop-rock tarts known as the Neighbourhood. She brought out the Neighbourhood frontman Jesse Rutherford for that one. Here’s the video:
This one doesn’t involve any other famous people, but it seems worth nothing that Del Rey ended the show by singing “Venice Bitch” as a spectacular fireworks display went off behind her. Here’s a video of that:
Here’s hoping Del Rey enjoyed doing her very own Summer Jam.