SZA Dazzles During Miami Concert at the Kaseya Center | Miami New Times


SZA Delivers a Cinematic Spectacle at Kaseya Center

Throughout her 90-minute set, SZA delivered a big-budget production for a sold-out crowd in downtown Miami.
SZA brought her SOS Tour to the Kaseya Center on September 20. See more photos of SZA's performance here.
SZA brought her SOS Tour to the Kaseya Center on September 20. See more photos of SZA's performance here. Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
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The last time SZA performed solo in Miami, it was at the Ground, the intimate venue below Club Space's terrace. Five years later, she moved a few blocks away to the Kaseya Center, selling out the cavernous arena.

On Wednesday night, you could feel the anticipation from the crowd as they sang along to the songs blaring over the loudspeakers like PinkPantheress' "Boy's a Liar, Pt 2." The house lights dimmed around 20 minutes past 9, and the screams grew deafening. Images of waves projected on a cubed screen. The cube slowly raised to the rafters, revealing SZA in a silver sequined outfit, chilling on a 20-foot high diving board as she went into the opener "PSA." With the waves behind her, it was apparent you were witnessing a re-enactment of the cover image of her excellent sophomore album, SOS. Then the cube descended, and a silhouette of SZA jumped 20 feet down into the water.

If that wasn't enough to make you realize you were about to watch a big-budget spectacle with production values similar to Hollywood epics like Avatar 2 or The Little Mermaid, the movie-style opening credits that read "TDE Presents the SOS Tour" clued you in.
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SZA's SOS Tour feels like a big-budget spectacle. See more photos of SZA's performance here.
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
SZA and her team spared no expense with the on-stage set pieces. For the first batch of songs, SZA and a quartet of backing dancers moved around a dock that, through some audio-visual witchcraft, appeared to have water flowing underneath it. A drummer and a keyboardist were nestled away on one side of the dock, and a guitarist and another musician manning a synth were on the opposite side of the stage. SZA ripped through "Seek & Destroy" and "Notice" before she addressed the crowd. "Miami! We're gonna turn this motherfucker up," she promised the crowd. Those words were appreciated but mostly unnecessary. The audience, mostly made up of young women, were on their feet and singing along for most of the 90-minute set.

In the middle of the show, a faux rusted-out tugboat was on center stage where a pair of guitarists could rock out to "F2F." Toward the end, a giant anchor represented that we were at the bottom of the sea as SZA went into the peppy pop of her Doja Cat collaboration, "Kiss Me More," with the familiar hook interpolating Olivia Newton John's "Physical."
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SZA recreated the cover of her sophomore album, SOS, at the beginning of the show. See more photos of SZA's performance here.
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Most impressive and fearless was when SZA boarded a lifeboat and was lifted 50 feet into the air over the audience as a lighthouse suddenly appeared in the back of the venue. It's one thing to go on a thrill ride, but singing that high up is mindblowing. Then, for "Nobody Gets Me," she decided to stand up in the boat while it continued to sail around the rafters.

While the crowd definitely got their money's worth in terms of spectacle, more emphasis could have been placed on the voice that brought everyone out to fill the arena. During one set break, the camera stayed on SZA as she was backstage. It was cool to get the behind-the-scenes view of her crew changing her wardrobe as she seemed to be singing "Smoking on My Ex Pack," but the vocals continued as they applied lipstick while her mouth was still, leaving you to wonder which other songs used prerecorded vocals.
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SZA gave the sold-out crowd at the Kaseya Center their money's worth. See more photos of SZA's performance here.
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Also disappointing was the rendition of her biggest and possibly best song, "Kill Bill." The song's brilliance lies in its nuance. Like the way the Police's "Every Breath You Take" was about a psychotic stalker disguised as a love song, "Kill Bill" poses as 21st-century lounge music when it's really about a scorned lover aiming to murder the man who did her wrong, but all subtlety was thrown out during a rushed rendition.

Still, despite those minor quips, the crowd remained engaged throughout the show, much more than content with what they experienced. When "The End" flashed on the screen after the last song, the closing credits rolled. And while there was no encore, the crowd got a post-credits scene as SZA returned to say, "I just wanted to thank y'all for being here tonight. I love you, Miami!"

- "PSA"
- "Seek & Destroy"
- "Notice Me"
- "Conceited"
- "Love Galore"
- "Broken Clocks"
- "Forgiveless"
- "Used"
- "Bag Lady"
- "Ghost in the Machine"
- "Blind"
- "Shirt"
- "Smoking on My Ex Pack"
- "All the Stars"
- "Prom"
- "Normal Girl"
- "Garden (Say It Like Dat)"
- "F2F"
- "Drew Barrymore"
- "Doves in the Wind"
- "Low"
- "Lifeboat"
- "Open Arms"
- "Supermodel"/"Special"
- "Nobody Gets Me"
- "Gone Girl"
- "SOS"
- "Kiss Me More"
- "Love Language"
- "Snooze"
- "Kill Bill"
- "I Hate U"
- "The Weekend"
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