Fresh from her first Australian shows in Perth, Lizzo has landed in Melbourne and delivered a brightly dazzling show at Rod Laver Arena, showering locals with her signature positivity and love, just what we need at the current height of Melbourne’s cold and harsh winter.
Electric neon lights, red line lights and leather open Lizzo’s first Melbourne show for her Special tour in-between headlining Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay this coming weekend. While the screens blast the message THIS SHOW IS ABOUT LOVE, Lizzo appears with two backup dances at her side, performing “Cuz I Love You”, “Juice” and “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)”, priming the crowd who are clearly full of love and adoration for the pop star.
After proudly telling us that she had nailed the pronunciation of Melbin instead of the usual American-accented Mel-bourne, Lizzo leapt into” Soulmate”, which had some impressive dancing solos from The Big Girls and The Big Boys before moving into “Grrrls” and an absolutely banging version of “Boys”.
As the neon lights move away, the atmosphere turns more intimate as my personal favourite “Tempo” features a touching voicemail from Missy ‘Misdemeanour’ Elliott. A costume change into a Bob Mackie-inspired gold outfit she belts out “Special”, you can feel the love and energy behind this song as each audience member truly feels like she was singing directly to each and every one of them. Not dwelling too much on sentimentality, the screen behind the singer explodes with headlines about her launching into “Rumours”. Cardi B jumps in via video for a verse before hopping straight into “Like A Girl”.
Lizzo leads the audience through some breathing exercises and a guided meditation stating “If you don’t leave here feeling better than when you came in, I haven’t done my job!” This is swiftly followed up with Coldplay, and her beloved flute that has delivered her trademark look and sound. We are treated to an incredible flute-led interlude into a cover of “Yellow” by Coldplay.
Picking things back up again, “Truth Hurts” began with the front stage lights failing to turn on leaving Lizzo and her crew in the dark for the entire song. There are elements of her flute weaved into this version and she powered through it in the dark. When the song was over Lizzo stated “Y’all forgot to pay the electric bill or somethin” While the techies scrambled to fix it, Lizzo distracted the audience by signing autographs, reading out signs and taking photos with eager fans which was a great distraction but also provided an incredibly intimate moment in the show. To our surprise, the lights came on and Lizzo announced she would perform the song again with the lights so everyone could take videos of it. It was truly a moment of realisation of how much she loves her fans.
The band called The Lesbians kept Lizzo’s pace and tore the roof of the Rod Laver Arena with their beefed-up versions of Lizzo’s hit songs. The dancers were separated into two groups The Big Girls and The Big Boys always complimented Lizzo and never took away from her as the focus of the show.
Plenty of fans were celebrating their birthday at the show by holding up signs asking for a special birthday message from their favourite singer. Fortunately, Lizzo delivered her song “Birthday Girl” and dedicated it to everyone who was celebrating their special day with her. The covers continued with Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”, and the stage was transformed with rainbow lights and a rainbow flag to drape around the performer. Lizzo dedicated “Everybody’s Gay” to queer and trans women, noting the inclusion of black and brown stripes on the draped flag to signify this.
The only way to finish the show was with the biggest hit of her career to date, “Good As Hell” with the crowd singing along, almost drowning out the singer who was becoming more emotional with each note, clearly feeling the love from the crowd. Returning for an encore of “About Damn Time”, the atmosphere was completely electric with fans feeding off the positive vibes and energy from this incredible performer who knows how to put on a show.
The Special tour continues with a second show in Melbourne tomorrow night before headlining at Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay and then heading to Sydney and Auckland.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Photos from Eloise Coomber. You can see more photos from Eloise HERE