Review: Lizzo performs in Auckland - a proposal, pounamu and Te Pāti Māori

10:24 am on 27 July 2023
Lizzo performs at Spark Arena in Auckland, on 26 July, 2023

Lizzo wowed a packed Spark Arena in Auckland on Wednesday night. Photo: Live Nation/ Tom Grut

Taking the stage in not one, but two bedazzling outfits, the four-time Grammy winning pop, rap, and flute-playing sensation Lizzo blessed Auckland with a stunning show in a fully packed Spark Arena last night.

The set-list full of modern classics, along with a brief meditation session and a lengthy crowd interaction, will have undoubtedly left even the harshest of Lizzo's critics feeling 'good as hell.'

Bursting onto a stage decorated top to bottom with neon lights, the artist made the last show on The Special Tour one to remember.

She sported a black and white bedazzled Knievel-like jumpsuit to open with her soul-filled track 'Cuz I Love You', immediately showing off her vocal talents, reminiscent of artists like Tina Turner and Whitney Houston.

Before long, Lizzo made a quick costume change into a sparkling gold dress, with a round pounamu around her neck. And early on she thanked the owners of the land for welcoming her.

She took a quick break in her set to experience the lively and roaring audience, shedding a tear or two in the process. "Thankyou for letting me take that in for the last time in this tour," she said.

Lizzo is known for interactions with her fans. Most of the night's highlights were packed into a 15-minute interval where she pointed out members of the crowd, complementing their signs and outfits.

Lizzo performs at Spark Arena in Auckland, on 26 July, 2023

Photo: Live Nation/ Tom Grut

While making her way through the audience, she stopped and pointed at a man, asking the cameras to pull him up on the screens beside the stage. "I see you with the hat - get this person with the hat waving his hand, with the jacket." The camera pans to Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi. The crowd broke into a cheer, "you are very, very, very beautiful," Lizzo said.

She continued this, shining the spotlight on some of her biggest fans. One brought printouts of tweets, showing her eight years of support for the artist. "Sophie, we're besties," Lizzo replied, "can I sign something for you, can I take a picture - what can we do?"

Lizzo performs at Spark Arena in Auckland, on 26 July, 2023

Photo: Live Nation/ Tom Grut

Soon after, when given the microphone, a fan took the opportunity to propose to their partner, sending the entire arena into hysterics. Lizzo naturally, immediately sang her song 'I Love You Bitch'.

The concert attracted a diverse crowd, which many popular artists new and old might struggle to bring in today. People in the crowd singing along ranged from as young as five years old to their late sixties.

While some of Lizzo's lyrics are about mature topics, it is undeniable that the majority of her songs have positive messages of body image, self-confidence and inclusivity that anyone could take something away from.

In saying that, the women clearly outnumbered the men. Many of the men's bathrooms became overwhelmed by women after the lady's room's lines started extending far into the foyer. Many of them laughed with one another when they walked into the men's bathroom just to find a queue full of women.

The broad range of people gave a sense of belonging while there. No matter who you were or what you looked like, you were accepted as a fan.

Lizzo performs at Spark Arena in Auckland, on 26 July, 2023

Photo: Live Nation/ Tom Grut

It was Lizzo's first solo concert in New Zealand, but she performed in Auckland in 2020 at the FOMO Festival. She joked about the paparazzi spying on her while bathing at Piha Beach; "I wore a bold bikini on the beach and paparazzi posted those pictures everywhere when I was a bad bitch."

She ended the night with her most popular songs, 'Truth Hurts', and 'Good As Hell' before performing 'About Damn Time' as the encore track. All of which had the audience screaming.

Singer Tkay Maidza supported Lizzo at her Auckland show, on 26 July, 2023

Singer Tkay Maidza supported Lizzo Photo: Live Nation/ Tom Grut

As someone that went into the show with a mild appreciation for Lizzos music, I have emerged a fan.

On criticism, something could be said about the length of the crowd interaction near the end, some of the lyrics and imagery considering some of the younger audience members, and it may have been a tad loud for others. But overall, there was little to nothing worthy of criticism at her concert.

Lizzo embodies what it means to be a positive influence for others when you're a forefront figure in the music and entertainment industry. She's quite literally fun for the whole family.

Lizzo performs at Spark Arena in Auckland, on 26 July, 2023

Photo: Live Nation/ Tom Grut

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