Gig Reviews

Lizzo – Sydney Opera House, 6/1/20

They say life is defined by moments. By the time we’ve lived all we can live and felt all we can feel, we’re left with a highlight reel of splendour, of melancholy, of laughter, of tears and of fleeting points in time that help affirm and cement our impact on those around us and the world at large. On top of that, we all have the ability to define moments in other people’s lives. For example, Lizzo defined an entire planet’s 2019 with her music and the packed out crowd at the Sydney Opera House on Monday, 6th January helped define a moment which Lizzo referred to as “a dream come true.”

On paper, a Lizzo show at the Sydney Opera House doesn’t seem to work. This is an artist who can pack out entire fields and parks with her performances, like she’s been doing for FOMO this week, so having her play a 2,000+ person venue – albeit an historic and legendary one – seems like a mismatch. But Lizzo’s entire being is about breaking convention, defining your own success and…being 100% that bitch, and she provided the receipts.

The energy was through the roof from the very beginning. Opening with 2016-released, 2019-hit ‘Good As Hell’, everyone immediately jumped to their feet. The screams were ear-shattering. Starting the night off with a unified belting of “you know you a star, you can touch the sky” was not only a perfect mood-setter for the rest of the evening, but the perfect way to start any gig. While Lizzo is in the room, everyone’s safe and everyone’s loved and everyone’s free to get as weird as they want – even in such a traditional venue.

The energy seldom died off throughout the set, finishing ‘Good As Hell’ and going straight into powerhouse ballad ‘Cuz I Love You’ that really put Lizzo’s booming vocal talents on display. She twerked and hair-flipped her way through old deep cuts like ‘Water Me’ and ‘Scuse Me’ while also bringing fresh cuts like ‘Worship’ and ‘Like A Girl’, with a little bit of an Aretha Franklin tribute thrown in there for good measure as well.

When it comes to promoting self-love and body positivity, Lizzo is ruthless and she is vigilant. Between every few songs, she would pause to remind everyone that she’s not taking no for an answer when it comes to living yourself. While she remains understanding that not everyone’s there yet, and even when you are there it can be tricky to hold on to, her firm belief that everyone “needs to love (themselves) like Lizzo loves Lizzo” was drilled into us – and that’s the energy we need coming into this new decade.

Lizzo’s message, for instance, meant that she was beginning the new decade accomplishing one of her wildest dreams – playing the Sydney Opera House. A classically trained flautist and self-proclaimed band nerd, there was that bizarre mix of elation and disbelief in Lizzo’s eyes once she brought out her flute – Sasha – and performed an acoustic, flute-only version of 2019’s ‘Juice’. It was truly a moment to behold.

She also spared a moment to acknowledge the tragedy that the country is undergoing right now in regards to the bushfires. Lizzo has been incredibly vocal about the bushfires since she’s been in Australia, letting the world know that this is not just our problem. She began breaking down when talking about all the wildlife we’ve lost so far. On top of the work she’s done gathering donations in collaboration with FOMO festival, she had donation buckets set up outside the concert hall while also promising that her work on bushfire relief will not end once she flies back to America.

But, the only thing that could rival how much the audience loves themselves or how much Lizzo loves Lizzo is how much…the audience loved Lizzo. As previously mentioned, the screams were ear-shattering but it has surely been a long time since the Sydney Opera House had its walls shaken with applause, cheers and literal praise. At one point, the cheers and standing ovations lasted for at least a minute with the crowd eventually breaking out to full-blown praise. We’re talking heads down, hands hailing praise usually reserved for spiritual figures. But that was the best part about Lizzo’s performance – it felt spiritual. It felt therapeutic, rejuvenating and energizing.

And if there’s one thing the crowd took away from Lizzo’s gargantuan performance once she’d closed with ‘Truth Hurts’, it’s that if she’s shining, everybody is going to shine. And shine we all did.

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