Last Friday night saw the return of LIZZO to the Madison stage. Having seen her open for SZA just a semester prior, I knew this show was going to be a Banger. Walking into the Majestic last year, you would not have known that LIZZO was only the opener. The volume and intensity of the crowd’s excitement was palpable. It was clear only a selection of the audience was singing along to the tracks, yet everyone in the room was on their feet dancing; a true testament to the A-list level live performance LIZZO puts on. This is not to say however, that Madison was a standard show; not then and not now. Our frenzy the first time clearly was a bit shocking; she graciously gushed how much she loved Madison.
After the first couple songs in her set this time around, she paused to say how much she was looking forward to performing here. It had been a bit of a rough day for her, and she was glad she could count on us to cheer her up. LIZZO, beautifully backed up by two wonderfully curvaceous dancers and her badass best friend and DJ, Sophia Eris, imbues self-love. The Big GRRRL Small World Tour showcases the beauty of big girls, strength, skin, and womanhood. She is an incredible artist with so much talent and vivacity. We cheered like any audience should on this tour, loudly and uncontrollably.
There’s something about a well choreographed, uptempo, smooth changing live set that is destined for the height of success. Similar acts that come to mind are Santigold, and Ben L’Oncle Soul. Looking back, a heavy level of planning and rehearsal had to have gone into making such a tight set; yet it all looked effortless on stage.
The night was kicked off by the incredible jazz, hip-hop collective of Me En You. They’re local to Madison, and if you haven’t happened upon them at the Frequency, Terrace, or Play Circle, then might I recommend you momentarily pause from reading this article and look them up on Soundcloud. You won’t regret it. Back to the night, they put on a wonderfully psychedelic set of blue-lit crooning and fast-paced flowing that left us all both mellow and hyped. Next up was Cavanaugh, a mash up of Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti. The pair brought a level of humor to personal anxieties through a unique brand of hip hop. Both artists with strong fan bases and solidified styles, the combination creates a whole new sound deserving of even greater acclaim.
Just before LIZZO herself hit the stage, Sophia Eris put on a DJ set that the crowd went crazy for. Potentially only running through 8 songs, we danced like it was the prime of the night. Playing tracks like Formation by Beyonce, WTF by Missy Elliott and Ultra Light Beam by Kanye, the audience was absolutely losing it. Sophia Eris, clearly in her element, looked like a true queen smoothly slaying the crowd.
Finally LIZZO hit the stage with “Ain’t I” followed by “Betcha” and then “Ride,” all bangers off her most recent release. The set saw some sentimental moments with songs like “Humanize,” “My Skin,” and the song she wrote for her father, “1 Deep.” Steadily crafting her style and “making hits since the seventh grade,” LIZZO’s sound feels fresh and referential. Hints of both Shamir and Queen Latifah bolster a simply confident groove. Neither the lyrics nor the beats are over complicated or chart-topper-focused. It is much easier to classify them as real, personal and heartfelt. The hour and a half that they performed felt like barely 30 minutes. Sad to see them leave so soon, the final wish was granted as they brought the house down with their encore of “Batches and Cookies.” If you ever have the chance to see LIZZO live, do not miss out on that opportunity. Nous t’aimons, LIZZO.