President Trump is stopping by Minneapolis today and you can feel the tension in the air. You can also feel the love in the air as Minneapolis residents and businesses band together to make sure that, when all eyes are on this beautiful city, the country and world knows that we are a welcoming place for all. That sentiment was heard and felt loud and clear throughout The Armory last night as the one and only Lizzo performed to a completely sold out crowd in the town that claims her as their own.
DJ Sophia Eris got this started in the most Minneapolis way ever. In case you didn’t know, Sophia also DJ’s for Lizzo and has for the past couple of years but last night she proved she is so much more than just “Lizzo’s DJ”. Before jumping into a set that had the audience moving and grooving, Sophia spun Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”. “Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” Prince’s voice rang through the huge venue and honestly no truer words could have been spoken at that moment in time. The audience was full of people just trying to get through this thing called life and that’s exactly what we did. Sophia’s set was all over the place when it came to the age of the tracks she was spinning but they all had a perfect place in her set. From female empowerment tracks to songs that just made you want to dance, she may have only been on stage for a little bit but she definitely got the part started on Wednesday night.
Following Sophia was the soulful and sultry Ari Lennox. I was unfamiliar with Ari’s name or music but as soon as she took the stage with her smooth black dress that had a slit up the side that went dangerously high, and opened her mouth, I was instantly captivated. Ari has a voice that is smoother than silk. Her mixture of R&B and neo-soul was a thing of perfection and also something that sets her apart from anyone I could even attempt to compare her to. Although her calm and soothing set was a far cry from the power and insanity that Lizzo would bring after her, Ari Lennox was the perfect choice for an opener for this show. Although I walked in knowing nothing about this woman, I left as an instant fan and can’t wait to hopefully see her again once she is off of this tour and going on her own tour.
There were multiple moments throughout her nearly hour and a half long set where she just stood there in awe. It was truly beautiful as she just stood there taking it all in and, believe me, there was a lot to take in. She may have left Minnesota physically but, the truth is, she never left here and that was heard loud and clear. There was a sense of appreciation that radiated from the stage to the audience and vice versa that was strong enough to give me goosebumps. Although all of the music and dancing was on point and perfect, it was those few moments of Lizzo just standing there in silence that truly made the show.
The sixteen songs she played for her set were perfectly curated. Although I would have loved to hear some of her older material off ‘Lizzobangers’ and ‘Big Grrrl Small World’, I loved the way that her set was a mix of slow and fast, energetic and calm. Although dancing along to her infectious beats was a highlight of the night, hearing her belt through the ballad like “Lingerie” and “Jerome” may have been just as good. Sure, we all know and love Lizzo because she makes you move and smile but there were parts of last night’s set where it was hard not to only think about just how amazing her vocals are and how talented this woman is.
I could continue writing about how great Lizzo sounded or how the audience sang along to every word without hesitation but it was her attitude and the motivational talks she had with the audience that made it a true Lizzo show. “We gunna leave this concert healed, baby!” “Your identity doesn’t define you, your identity bring you to greatness!” “You’re going to leave this concert wanting to be your self!” No, these are not words from a motivational speaker, they are direct quotes from Lizzo as she amped the audience up. Everything about Lizzo is amazing but the way she talks to crowds and the way she makes you understand that it is truly 100% okay to be yourself at all times is what really matters. Everyone was welcome at last night’s show and that was heard and felt loud and clear. From LGBTQ+, to big girls, to itty bitty girls, every single person in The Armory felt a sense of love last night not only from Lizzo but also the people around them. There are no words that can describe that feeling.
I could clearly go on and on about last night’s show from the things I loved to the things I didn’t. From the talented “Big Girl” dancers to Lizzo’s epic flute solo that kicked off her encore performance of “Juice”. I have so much left to tell you about but, if you weren’t there, they would only be words and you would never feel what I felt or what the rest of the audience felt last night or will feel again when she performs another sold out show at The Armory on Friday.
If I can leave you with anything it would be this– “We deserve to feel good as hell!”- Lizzo