Last night, Dua Lipa returned to Miami, to Bayfront Park, for the first time since last year, when she was in the Magic City to film the video for her breakout hit, “New Rules.”
She had a hectic few days in South Florida. She first had to get up onstage at America’s Backyard the previous evening and then run up on a chair to avoid a Florida-size cockroach the next morning (via Instagram). More impressive, Lipa has had a busy year touring, winning awards (including two Brits), and performing at the likes of Bonnaroo and the Champions League Final.
Clad in a cropped tank top, shorts, and platform heels, Lipa stepped onto the stage ready for Miami weather. She joked, “I didn’t know what to wear, so I basically wore nothing.” She began her set with “Blow Your Mind (Muah),” featuring the lyric "If we don’t fuck this whole thing up/Guaranteed, I can blow your mind/Mwah!” It was a promise she kept for her ravenous fans.
Towering over all of her dancers and backup singers, the five-foot-eight Lipa has become a symbol of women’s empowerment as well as an icon in the LGBTQ community. Thanks to her no-shit-taking lyrics with properly good advice about relationships as well as life, the 22-year-old exuded a presence that made her larger in more ways than just the physical.
The English singer of Albanian descent delivered a sultry performance befitting a balmy, tropical town such as Miami. Her husky, smoky vocals cut and hammered through the air. On songs such as “High,” she showed off the power of not only her voice but also her full-on rock band and a sly set of dance moves. She thrilled via sexy stage gymnastics filled with head shaking and shoulder shrugging that would be at home in both a boxing gym and the bedroom.
For “Be the One,” Lipa asked the Bayfront crowd to “go fucking mental,” a request easily fulfilled by the attendees of this sold-out, standing-room-only event. She was able to reach every ear and every heart through her powerhouse of a voice. She sang several acoustic tracks, including “New Love,” her very first release and a return to her bedroom-R&B roots, and later sashayed, vocally and physically, through “One Kiss” amid a lipstick-pink visual mist. She embraced one of her dancers in a deep hug and superslow dance during the escapist soft jam “No Goodbyes.” Then the big, rowdy pop concert returned after a short stroll through tenderness. “Hotter Than Hell” kicked off the second half. It’s a track that could effectively function as Miami’s theme song every summer since before the creation of A/C or the ice cube.
Apparently, Miami is ready for the World Cup to begin later this week — the Bayfront crowd saved its best football chant for the end of the show, calling for Lipa to return to the stage. Those calls were answered by an encore that included a warning against “fuckboys” before slipping into “IDGAF (I Don't Give a Fuck),” a fan favorite. Hair whipping and karate-kick flying, Lipa didn’t need to sell this song too hard, considering how many fans use this refrain as a personal statement, but she did so anyhow with Studio 54 zeal.
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Her biggest hit to date and the main event, the ubiquitous “New Rules,” is a 21st-century piece of common-sense advice. It was also a reason for the audience to literally jump for joy.
Lipa's mountain of a voice and cache of songs that bounce between pop, rock, soul, and EDM gave us a healthy balance of ballads and bangers, the former not only an opportunity to give Lipa a rest from her music concert and workout, but also a chance to illustrate the full extent of her talent.
Blessed with good looks, the former (and gleefully failed) model is far more than a pretty face. She proved as much last night onstage in Miami, where she paired her vocals, comparable to Adele's and Amy Winehouse's, with a nightclub-ready panache to psyche up and satiate fans.