Lana Del Rey Cements Herself as a Cult Icon at Coachella

Lana Del Rey brought her ethereal Venus energy to the Coachella main stage as she closed out Friday night at the festival. This marked her first Coachella performance since 2014.

Seated on the back of a motorcycle, Del Rey rode serenely towards the stage with a full motorcade trailing behind her. Lines from her 2012 song “Jealous Girl” played from the speakers — “Baby, I’m a gangster too/And it takes two to tango” — before she took the stage in a sparkling baby blue dress.

Del Rey commanded her set with a soft power, swanning among the ballerinas and aerial dancers as she sang ballads dating back to her earliest days; she demurely took a seat on a trapeze swing covered in flowers as she performed “Ride,” followed by “Born to Die.” When a faulty microphone began to cut her sonorous flow, she coolly maneuvered the sound issue by swapping out mics in the shadows. She returned to the stage and performed songs from Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, the album she dropped last May.

After her soulful rendition of “Norman F—ing Rockwell,” Del Rey ushered in the Grammy-winning artist and composer Jon Batiste to play piano during her bewitching performance of 2023’s “Candy Necklace.” Del Rey first sang while perched atop the golden grand piano, then was met with screams from the crowd as she circled around a pole on the other side of the stage.

Billie Eilish, who has credited Del Rey as someone who “changed music for girls,” sat opposite the headliner in a gilded balcony overlooking the main stage. With an assist from Del Rey, Eilish sang her 2016 hit, “Ocean Eyes.” They also sang Del Rey’s 2012 song “Video Games,” which was met with a resounding singalong from the audience.

“Get the f— out of my face!” said Eilish, in awe of the circumstances.

Quipped Del Rey of Eilish: “This is the voice of a generation!”

Singer-songwriter and Del Rey collaborator Jack Antonoff took to the piano while Del Rey kicked off “Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have — But I Have It.” She slowly crept her way backstage as she sang, leaving behind a hologram of herself as her haunting proxy onstage. Her physical form returned for a funky performance of “A&W,” before she wrapped with the evocative closer, 2013’s “Young & Beautiful.”

Del Rey departed in a most queenly fashion, waving from the back of the motorcycle she rode in on. Naturally, her exit was commemorated with a dose of high drama: fans sobbing, fireworks bursting and a ragtime-esque outro from a live jazz band.

Lana’s Coachella performance is the singer’s first since announcing her upcoming country music album — her tenth album overall — later this year. During a pre-Grammy event in February, the singer revealed that she’s dropping the record, titled Lasso, in September. (She did not mention this during her Friday night set.)

“If you can’t already tell by our award winners and our performers, the music business is going country,” she told the crowd in February. “We’re going country. It’s happening.”


Last year, the singer went on a brief tour of the South and performed at her biggest show to date, headlining two nights at Mexico City’s Foro Sol in August 2023. There, she performed a cover of Tammy Wynette‘s 1969 crooner “Stand By Your Man,” along with songs from Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.

“The core of Ocean Blvd is Del Rey trying to get a closer look at herself, flipping the story as we have come to understand (and maybe even misunderstand) about what she’s trying to tell us,” read a Rolling Stone review of the LP. “Through stories of her family, a failed relationship, her conflicting desire of being both seen and hidden, Del Rey exposes more than just who she is, but why she is who she is.”