Words by Vito Ingerto
It may have been unseasonably warm in Minneapolis, but it was downright steamy in the sold out Target Center Thursday night when Doja Cat painted the venue “Scarlet” on her fist ever arena tour. We were lucky in the Twin Cities, she played the last Soundset out at the Fairgrounds in 2019 and we were able to see her in all of her pink glory. Damn, I miss Soundset! She was not alone, as joining the ruckus was none other than Ice Spice.
Ice Spice opened the show right around 7:45 and was just as fun and raunchy as you thought she’d be. I’ve been to a ton of arena shows and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a room so packed for an opener. And the crowd was loud, really loud. Ice Spice seemed to really feel the love as she broke into “Deli”. Dressed n a short white skirt, fishnets and red crop top , she paraded around the triangular stage like the Princess she is. RIOTUSA was holding it down in the graffiti wrapped DJ booth while 4 dancers accompanied Ice. Yes, there was plenty of booty shaking, but she really sounded great. Her vocals had much more energy than what you hear on her releases, and really carried well in the venue. She took to the elevated platform for “Gangsta Boo”, twerking like a pro in front of a heart with Princess written on it. She pounded out all of the songs on Like..? as well as “Barbie World”, “Boys A Lia Pt2” and “On TheRadar” with tons of energy and passion. By far the biggest crowd reaction came when she dove into “Munch”. It really was an exciting set, and really cool to see someone who’s star is on the rise. When she walked off the stage, the Target Center was so packed and loud you wouldn’t have been at fault for thinking she was the headliner.
The house lights went down, and a wall of moving spotlights created the appearance of giant luminous curtains in front of the triangular stage, a huge scarlet letter A. The giant video screens flashed acts using roman numerals I through V, apparently signaling the show would be broken into 5 segments. The first act hit hard, and was all hip hop. Doja Cat emerged from under the stage, bathed in smoke and a body length veil. Opening with “WYM Freestyle”, and bathed in red light, her energy was crazy high. A huge red eyed spider, teased by the lullaby, led to spine chilling “Demons”. Doja started to bridge the gap from rap back to her more harmonious roots with “Agora Hills”. She continued to bring the heat nto Act II, also keeping the scarlet theme going by breaking out “Red Room” a Hiatus Kaiyote cover that
brought the house down. “Ain’t Shit’ was the transition from Act II to Act III, where Ms. Cat blew the dust off her power house hits from back in the day. She too was wearing a short white skirt, white thigh highs and sparkly white top. She also had a full head of purple hair and donned purple glasses for the performance.
Planet Her dominated this act. “Woman”, which had some wild dancing to open, “Get Into It (Yuh)” and her big hit with SZA “Kiss Me More” were banging, but a super funky “Say So” was the highlight of this act, though all of these tunes that are arguably some of her biggest hits got reworked for this tour. She had a full live band with her, and they sounded phenomenal in the large room, but they were hard to see located on the floor stage right. Act IV was all Scarlet, and really highlighted her vocal range. There was a giant eyeball that followed here around in “Paint The Town Red”. The show, with the added dimension the live band, had an Erikah Badu vibe, torrid, funky and hot. She didn’t engage that much with the audience, at one point conceding that she didn’t have anything interesting to say. However she did throw out a “Minnahhsoootahh” and it did look like she was having a blast throughout the entire
show. Act V was predominantly Scarlet too. Dancers pranced around during the set adding to the motion throughout the evening, and at one point took turns crawling over her during “Can’t Wait”. The show ended on a high note with a lusty and vibrant “Wet Vagina”.
The Target Center’s red theme was the perfect backdrop for Doja Cat’s Scarlet Tour, and she proved Thursday evening that she’s got the chops to command an arena and more than enough talent to dominate an audience for 90 minutes.