When was the last time you said something kind about yourself? Seriously. Think back. When was the last time you gave yourself the attention you deserve instead of dropping everything for everyone else and letting your own body and soul slip into the abyss? If I recall correctly, that was the moment during Lizzo’s set when my eyes started filling up with tears. It was unexplainable. It was powerful. It was perfect and that was just a small snippet of the amazing arena show that Lizzo brought to Saint Paul.
I was a bit surprised as I got through security to find my seat and heard music blaring from the large arena. With a posted start time of eight, I was actually about twenty minutes early and had planned on wandering around a little bit and checking out the merch situation but, instead, I rushed to my seat to see what was going on. Although I didn’t catch much of it, local (and touring member of Lizzo’s fabulous team) Sophia Eris had gotten the night started off right by hyping up the crowd. With her sparkly combat boots pounding on the stage, Sophia spent this introductory set with who I can only assume to be friends of hers and Lizzo’s. One by one, different people would take the stage with Sophia and pelt out a single song before fading into the back of the stage and giving someone else the spotlight. As mentioned, I didn’t catch the entire opening set as I saw no advertisements for this and that’s such a bummer but what I did catch was fun and was a great way to welcome the thousands of fans that were in attendance.
It wasn’t long before Sophia and her friends were leaving the stage to make room for Latto (also known as Big Latto). Latto wasted no time jumping into a quick and dirty set that had the majority of the audience on their feet. The energy was palpable from Latto and her four dancers. Born Alyssa Stephens, Latto’s sound was a bit more brash than I tend to go. Think Lil’ Kim meets Cardi B but with a little bit more of a southern bounce vibe at times. Much like the headliner who was about to take over, Latto’s lyrics focused on being a strong independent woman. Although some may say that it’s an overdone topic, I’m of the mind frame that it is not done enough. Women, especially black women, are continuously being stomped on so seeing the beauty and power along with the rage that Latto brought onto the stage was refreshing and nothing short of empowering. At only twenty-three years old, Latto is clearly making waves in the scene and she explained how she came from slinging CDs out of a grocery store parking lot with her dad but now she’s here– playing sold-out arenas with the one and only Lizzo. She went on to urge people to not give up, to work hard, and make the magic happen. That would be the reigning theme of the night and one of the reasons for my emotions getting the best of me.
If you haven’t heard of Lizzo, I will go ahead and assume you have been living under a rock and I’m not going to waste everyone else’s time by getting into her backstory but, long story short, Lizzo is a big girl in a small world who started in Texas, made her way to Minnesota, and now is one of the biggest and best things in the music industry today. Many of the themes that she sings about that really hit me hard and deep in my soul were the topics of her set on Tuesday night. From loving yourself to shrugging off the haters to being a strong independent woman– it was just almost too much to bear and I won’t get super sappy, I promise, but it was truly a super emotional performance for so many people in the audience.
Lizzo performed over twenty songs on Tuesday which spanned the entirety of her career. It even included a little shout-out to “Batches & Cookies” which was on her 2013 album ‘Lizzobangers’ that really got me and so many other locals hooked on this woman’s infectious sound and energy. She played a great mix of whole-hearted tracks full of that R&B songstress vibe that she does so well but also played through more upbeat party jams and even the disco-fueled vibe of “Everybody Is Gay”. There were moments where she seemed to be like a little kid up on stage as she just took it all in and other times where she felt like a true seasoned professional that was born to be on this size of a stage with this amount of production. Regardless of what she was singing (or playing for that matter as her flute made an appearance a few times) or what feeling she was radiating off into the audience, it was all eyes on Lizzo for all of the right reason,s and instead of relying on smoke and mirrors, Lizzo relied on her talent throughout the lengthy show.
The music was great and the atmosphere in the arena was truly warm and fuzzy but it was the emotional words and just watching Lizzo on stage that made the night as special as it was. From her Big Girls (the plus-size dancers that absolutely killed it throughout the night) to Lizzo calling out the haters, there was just this super relatable aspect to her performance that I could not put into words even if I tried. I know there were thousands of people at this show and it was no longer just Lizzo and a few people at The 7th Street Entry but it still felt as if Lizzo was talking to each and every person in the audience. Reminding us all to love ourselves, forget the haters, and take up the space that you want to take up instead of trying to make yourself small. Wear the glitter, dance around until you sweat, let your belly jiggle when you laugh– be yourself.
I have so much more to say about the Tuesday night performance. There are so many more feelings stuck in my heart and soul from seeing and hearing Lizzo but I want to be selfish and keep them for myself. Lizzo is one of those acts that you have to see live because she truly affects everyone differently while affecting everyone at the same time. So what are you waiting for? Go see Lizzo. If you can’t make that happen, at least say something kind about yourself today and every day from here on out.