Concert Review: Lizzo at Rogers Arena in Vancouver

Breakout R&B star Lizzo debuted in town with a live show

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Lizzo: the special tour

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When: Nov. 19, 20 hours

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Where: Rogers Arena

Tickets/Info: Livenation.com

Charting the rise of Lizzo can be a challenge.

Born in Detroit, home of Motown, she grew up in Houston, the base of artists ranging from Beyoncé to Megan Thee Stallion. But it was in Minneapolis, home of the late Grand Prince, where she signed her Nice Life Recording Company/Atlantic Records deal that propelled her to mega success. Lizzobangers (2013), Big Grrrl Small World (2015) and Coconut Oil (2016) laid the foundation for future stardom with great songs and an attitude to burn.

By the time 2019’s Cuz I Love You reached the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, and singles like Juice and Tempo skyrocketed, receiving eight nominations at the 62nd Grammy Awards and winning three, she was already an accomplished performer.

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When Special landed in 2021, it was no surprise to industry viewers that the lead-off single About Damn Time hit number one on the Billboard 100. Lizzo was everywhere. Acting, doing voice work and winning an Emmy for the Amazon Prime series Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls series, she is beloved by her fans and easily the most important pop musician to play the flute since Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

Given how amazing her live performances at the 2022 BET Awards, SNL and other shows were, the anticipation for her local headline debut was very high.

Here are five take-aways from the concert:

1 — The structure: You know the drill. The warm-up is over. The bathroom arrangements circle the world. So are the concession queues. The waiting begins. Not on this show. People were dancing in the stands and singing along to everything the DJ was up to. When the lights fell and the all-female backing band dropped the Sign’s jazzy grooves, everyone was already standing. Lizzo struck in a killer rhinestone-covered neon-lime suit announcing the star’s arrival.

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2 — Grrrlz/Boyz: As the 10 dancers surrounded her, the cry and response of ‘where my girls are’ shook the arena. It was followed by the sneaky funk of Boyz where the bassist got as rubbery as can be and then the guitarist deigned to shred for a few tight measures like it was a metal gig. The tempo of the performance was on the note, tight.

3 — Rumors: As lyrics with everything from “biiitch” to “FACTS” scrolled across the screen, Cardi B appeared on a phone screen to drop her lyrics in this ridiculously hooky hit. The mix of gunfire hip-hop and electro-tinged arrangements works perfectly.

4 — Nude: This soft and tender ballad has a powerful text of body empowerment and a positive image. It’s beautiful and the message of my body, my choice that appeared across her chest on the screen was well received in Canada.

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5 – I love you. You are special. And you can do everything: Not just an introduction to the title track from her smash album Special, this was the overall message of the entire show. From Lizzo to Billie Eilish and others, there seems to be an overarching need to counter rampant toxicity in society and how it affects people, especially young women. It’s a message that needs to be heard and that makes people smile on the way out. Cassidy certainly was after being brought on stage to be serenaded during Birthday Girl.


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