A visibly moved Lizzo returned to the stage Friday night for the debut show on her “Special Tour” (get tickets here), a 28-date jaunt in support of her latest studio album, Special. Part variety show spectacle, part megachurch empowerment retreat, the performance showcased all of Lizzo’s special talents, from powerhouse singing, to flute playing, to motivational speaking and choreo slaying.
“My name is Lizzo, and welcome to the first night of my very first arena tour,” she said proudly in one of many moments when deep gratitude registered on her face as she paused to take in the rapturous screams of thousands. Before the stage lights blinked on and opener “The Sign” blared over the sound system, a voiceover of the singer set the heartening tone for the evening.
“I really believe that love for oneself and for others is what this world needs to be a better place,” she said in what would become the first of many motivational tangents of the evening. “If you can just take the time to give a little love to yourself every single day, treat yourself with respect, treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated, treat somebody else with that same love and respect — that expands, that grows, and that can save a life.”
As the last few words echoed, the singer emerged from the stage floor in a shimmering blue cutout bodysuit and matching eyeshadow. Still clutching her chest in a wordless expression of appreciation, she launched into “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)” as her dancers, The Big Grrrls, dashed onto the stage dressed in bright Barbiecore pink.
Recalling Beyoncé’s early solo tours, Lizzo’s stage was dominated by women, from the band to the backup singers, dancers, and DJ. An extensive guitar solo introduced the brilliant “Tempo,” during which The Big Grrrls showed out with an invigatoring freestyle dance-off.
“Am I turning thick girls into hos, or am I turning thick girls into Emmy winners?” Lizzo laughed into the mic, nodding to her recent Emmy win for reality dance competition Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, which has thrust the multi-hyphenate performer into the EGOT conversation. The “Special Tour” goes a long way to make the case that she has the chops to get there.
At the very least, the show proves Lizzo would absolutely crush a Vegas residency. Once a retirement plan for past-their-prime performers, the form has been reinvented in recent years by powerhouse pop stars like Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars — performers who, like Lizzo, are able to draw upon a multitude of talents to craft a show that goes well beyond the traditional song and dance.