The singer, wearing an oversized white suit that recalled David Byrne in Stop Making Sense, tapped into her usual theatrical vibe: throwing up her hands in jagged movements, sharply gulping in air between each vocal line and enunciating consonants with harsh plosives on the microphone.
Her band nailed the song's dynamic shifts – from the verse's stark piano to the chorus' 3-D blast of synth and arena-sized drums. Lorde's voice dropped to a stirring hush on the final chorus, as she left the audience with an unnerving stare into the camera.
The recent Rolling Stone cover star also spoke to Jimmy Fallon about the writing sessions for her newly released Melodrama LP. Part of her creative process involved moving back to New Zealand to escape the pressures and pampering of celebrity life.
"I just really felt like the whole thing was not really for me when I didn't have to do it," she said of life as a Grammy-winning musician. "I was like, 'I'll do it when I have to do it, but when I don't have to, I'm just gonna peace out and go 10,000 miles away from here.'"
During her trip, she "helicoptered" to "the remote side of an island" – a move that helped clear her head. But the forest backdrop also freaked her out, thanks to David Lynch. "I just started watching Twin Peaks, which is perfect if you want to just be terrified in the middle of nowhere by yourself. I was like, 'I'm gonna die here."
On Friday, Lorde announced a 2018 world tour behind her new album. The North American leg launches March 1st in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and spans 30 arenas in the U.S. and Canada before concluding April 15th in Nashville.