Aidin Vaziri | They started lining up the night before, while that evening’s headliners Queens of the Stone Age were still onstage. By Friday morning, long after the semis and tour buses had rolled on and new ones were on their way, there was a queue of people – three or four deep – that extended from the entry gates of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to the crosswalk leading to the grand stairs of City Hall across the street. A few hours later, the line stretched around the perimeter of Civic Center Plaza. When the doors of the venue finally opened at 8 p.m., 6,000 fans were panting to get inside for the first headline appearance in San Francisco by the pop sensation Lana Del Rey.
The fervent level of anticipation for the torchy 27-year-old singer and songwriter from New York – some three years after she released her breakthrough single, “Video Games” – was a little unexpected. It will be another few months before Del Rey puts out a new album, the follow-up to 2012’s “Born to Die.” She has steadfastly avoided the typical rigors of promotion, such as interviews and radio show appearances, and just one of her songs, a remix at that, has managed to crack the Top 10.
Still, the scene inside the auditorium was thoroughly nutty, as thousands of Lana-be’s in their flower crowns and cutoff denim shorts jostled for prime space up front in the otherwise spacious room. There were tears, bloody fistfights and a constant stream of limp bodies gasping for air pulled out from the crush at the barriers at the foot of the stage.
Then Del Rey went on.