Having waited around two years to see the pop star Dua Lipa hit the stage, the sold-out Utilita Arena in Birmingham had a little longer to wait before they got what they asked for.
Opening up the night before Dua Lipa was singer Griff. Her excitement, energy, and overall passion for music shone throughout the arena as she was able to get every single person excited for her performance. Opening the show with “Say It Again”, Birmingham gave a warm welcome to Griff, as she deserved. After every song, a loud applause was given, which made Griff smile from ear to ear.
It was understandable why she was chosen to open up the show for Dua Lipa. Being able to hold the crowd’s attention – whether it was through her eye-catching, ethereal dress, or through her relatable lyrics and strong vocals – will be something that will continue to see Griff through her musical career and be on top of her game.
Following were songs including “Walk” and “One Foot In Front The Other”, which was a crowd favourite. Crowd participation was a noticeable part of her set, interacting with the audience in between songs and showing her appreciation to everyone who came to witness her on stage.
She also thanked Dua Lipa herself for bringing her on the ‘Future Nostalgia’ tour. Performing “One Night”, mixed with an “I Wanna Dance With Somebody Medley”, there wasn’t one person not singing along. Closing her set with “Black Hole”, Griff said her goodbyes, gave thanks to her band, and left positive energy in the air while the wait for Dua Lipa continued.
It was finally that time that everyone had been waiting for. Being transported to an 80s dance class and opening the show was “Physical”, Dua Lipa knew how to make an entrance. Wearing a pink catsuit-styled playsuit, so much attention went into the visuals from the first few seconds.
On the big screens were visuals of her band and dancers which perfectly fit the theme. The reaction was more than expected, even from Dua herself. This was very telling of how the night was going to turn out. Hit after hit. “New Rules”, “Break My Heart”, “Be The One”, to name just a few.
After a quick outfit change into a sparkly white dress, Dua was joined on stage by a giant inflatable lobster, and fitting the nautical theme was “We’re Good”. This was just one song where the crowd was louder than Dua. There wasn’t a single song that didn’t have the audience up on their feet and singing every single word.
Things were slowed down a little with the feminist anthem, “Boys Will Be Boys”. Singing the line, “I know that there will be a man around to save the day. And that was sarcasm, in case you needed it mansplained”, the whole arena cheered – a hit in reference to unwanted male harassment. Being able to speak on a topic as serious as this is what people adore about Dua, not being afraid to stand up for what she believes in.
There wasn’t a time when Dua Lipa was on stage that she didn’t have the biggest smile on her face. “I performed at Sunflower Lounge six years ago and now I’m here!”, said Dua, still not quite believing she was playing to a sold-out crowd in Birmingham.
Her whole team, from the band to the dancers gave it their all. Not one person was out of place, everything was picture perfect. It’s not a pop show without costume changes and dance breaks to switch things up a little.
The second to last outfit change of the night saw Dua in a more casual number, a mini skirt, a bikin-styled top, and trainers. Taking to the center of the stage for tracks including “One Kiss” and “Electricity”, it was time for her dancers to shine once again. With backflips, dancing wearing roller skates and having an evidently fun time, there was nothing more that they could do to put on an even better show.
Transforming into a nightclub, there were color-changing laser lights, balloons dropping from the ceiling, and let’s not forget Elton John projected on the big screen for “Cold Heart”.
Hovering over the crowd, this time in the final outfit change of the night, a glittery purple jumpsuit which reflected when lights shone in her direction, on a small platform, Dua performed the very appropriate track, “Levitating”.
The show ended with an encore of “Future Nostalgia” and her biggest hit to date, “Don’t Start Now”. Giving the crowd one last surprise, a burst of colourful confetti exploded throughout the arena.
Dua showed her appreciation for every single person while cheers erupted in the whole room. There was not a moment of that show that was taken for granted by anyone up on the stage or her fans who had waited two years to see her live.
It is evident that Dua Lipa knows exactly what she means when she plans on making her shows a night to remember. From her strong vocals, stage setup, her whole team, and of course her songs, there was nothing but an infectious atmosphere from start to finish. It’s performances like this that truly cement Dua Lipa as the true star she is today.
Words by Sarah Akomanyi // Photography by Shirlaine Forrest