Beyond exacerbating Miami's already nightmarish traffic, Super Bowl LIV has brought some cool stuff to town: Ocean Drive has a Ferris wheel; open bars are pouring drinks all over the place; and perhaps best of all, Lizzo played a free concert last night at the Fillmore Miami Beach.
For her first performance since winning three Grammys last Sunday night, the soulful singer attracted a crowd that lined up all the way down 17th Street to catch sight of the quickly ascending pop superstar. Her show was part Aretha Franklin-esque gospel church service, part Tony Robbins self-affirmation spectacle, and an all-around good time.
Lizzo went all out for her 75-minute, 15-song set. At 10:15 p.m., the house lights dimmed and a smoke machine's fog enveloped the stage in mystery and anticipation. Soon enough, Lizzo's unforgettable voice boomed out the opening lines of "Heaven Help Me." By the time the smoke cleared, the only way you could possibly be disappointed was if you were expecting a string section to join her onstage à la Sunday's Grammy performance. Instead, accompanied solely by four dancers and a DJ to cue up tracks, Lizzo's voice and panache proved to be more than enough to sustain a memorable show.
Her robust vocal chops were on full display during an a cappella version of "Soulmate" delivered midset. Although a backing track soon came on as the singer launched into the more danceable version of the song, the snippet showed that a truly solo Lizzo show would be just as compelling as any conventional concert. Beyond her voice, she boasts a charismatic stage presence that all but precludes the possibility of boredom in her audience. Last night, whether she was belting out a faithful rendition of one of her songs, dishing out advice on self-love, or cracking a joke, all eyes were on her, and they rarely looked away.
She appeared genuinely humbled whenever the crowd showered her with admiration and even expressed seemingly honest appreciation for the corporate sponsors that put on this free show. (However, it was strange that Weight Watchers, now rebranded as WW, would be advertising its product in association with a singer who proudly shouts, "Where my thick bitches at? You know who I'm talkin' about. You got ass for days, and every biscuit tastes delicious.")
Beyond baring her soul amid her electrifying mix of funk, pop, and hip-hop, Lizzo also brought straightforward sincerity into her stage patter. Even if you're deservedly cynical about our culture's ceaseless celebrity worship, it was impossible not to get a little teary-eyed when she dedicated the night to Kobe Bryant and his daughter.
"I didn't even know him," she said of the former NBA star, who, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, perished last Sunday in a helicopter crash. "You probably didn't know him. But you all felt something when you heard. That's because we're all connected."
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Lizzo closed out the show with her one-song encore, "Juice," which saw her joined onstage by Harry Styles. While the two pop titans sang and danced, confetti poured onto the crowd; the energy was electric enough to make you feel like your team had just won the Super Bowl. And after a show this good, the Super Bowl better be a hell of a game to seem like anything but an afterthought.
- "Heaven Help Me"
- "Cuz I Love You"
- "Exactly How I Feel"
- "Water Me"
- "Like a Girl"
- "Good as Hell"
- "Truth Hurts"