About an hour before Lana Del Rey was scheduled to premiere the 10-minute music video for her new single “Ride,” a massive queue of well over 1000 fans wrapped around the block leading into the tiny landmark Aero Theatre on a tiny strip of Santa Monica, California.
Unbeknownst to most of them, the evening’s star attraction was just around the corner outside the backstage door, happily greeting a small clutch of fans who showered her with gifts and kisses while jostling to have pictures taken with the “Video Games” chanteuse.
The event, which had only been announced the two days before via a tweet from Del Rey, promised that she would be showing the “Ride” video alongside the clip’s director, Anthony Mandler, who also lensed Del Rey’s “National Anthem” video with rapper A$AP Rocky.
Inside, excited fans packed the theatre, growing impatient with chants of “Lana! Lana!” when the 7 p.m. start time was closer to 7:30. When Del Rey and Mandler did take the small stage, fans erupted, overwhelming the singer as she tried to address the crowd.
“It feels like a concert, and I’m just showing a video,” Del Rey blushed through the din. After thanking the fans for coming and acknowledging the presence of famed music producer Rick Rubin (he handled the boards for “Ride”), security had to escort the singer to a seat as she was besieged by more fans in the aisle.
The video itself is a gorgeous collection of images shot in the deserts outside of Las Vegas. Opening on a shot of Del Rey swinging on a large tire tied to a rope, the provocative clip presents a loose narrative of the singer traveling with a biker gang, getting picked up outside of a liquor store, shooting guns around a bonfire and performing in a dilapidated old lounge. The video is set to be released online this Friday, October 12.
The clip also features a poetic voice-over from Del Rey, delivered in a breathy purr: “Who are you? Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them? I have. I am f***ing crazy. But I am free.”
Del Rey and Mandler braved a post-video Q&A session, with Del Rey explaining the inspiration behind the song “Ride.”
“I just decided to get back to my roots and do what was fun. And I love to ride, motorcycles and men,” she added with a laugh.
Del Rey became especially passionate when discussing the eight new songs that appear on the upcoming re-release of her debut album, Born to Die, due November 12.
“If I’m honest, the thing that we’re calling the Paradise Edition with those eight songs, I did think about those for the last 12 months. In my opinion, they’re better than the (original) record. They’re really beautiful and inspired by that ’60s Pacific Coast sound.”
Del Rey was coy when asked about upcoming U.S. tour dates, joking “How important is touring really? I’ve got a new idea: What if we just met down at the boardwalk every Sunday and took walks on the beach?” (She did hint at possible dates early next year).
The Q&A soon dissolved into a full on love-fest, with fans begging to have their pictures taken with her, one especially enamored female fan even getting down on one knee to ask her to prom.
In her sweetest voice, Del Rey said maybe.
–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local