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Live Review: Lizzo - The Special Tour @ RAC Arena

15 July 2023 | 8:46 am | Sam Mead

A Lizzo show is a multimedia extravaganza of love for the whole family and then some.

Lizzo @ RAC Arena

Lizzo @ RAC Arena (Credit: Sam Mead)

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Tkay Maidza got the crowd hot and steamy with up-tempo bangers, including fan favourite’s Cashmere, 24k and even included the new Triple J Hottest 100 contender Silent Assassin, a rich and invigorating metallic rap soundscape collab with Australia’s Sweetheart Flume. Her flavourful and hard-hitting beats and tasty rap hooks are the perfect crowd-pleasers to start the evening as crowds filed in eagerly to a completely sold-out show at the RAC Arena.

The house is full. The crowds are chanting. The music fades. The lights ignite; it’s about damn time! Loud horns signify the arrival of the American superstar as a message of love in all forms fills the screen. Lizzo takes to the stage with a commanding presence dressed in black leather with neon highlights and the thickest shades. “Everybody say daaamn for the big girls!” She flirts before lighting the night up with Cuz I Love You, because she does, and she wants you to know that from the jump. 

“Welcome to night one of the Australian special tour, my name is Lizzo, and we’re ready to have a good time tonight.” The glasses are off; it’s juicing time! The Minneapolis songstress hits hard with a one-two punch combo of Juice and 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready), bringing the heat exponentially and so soon. This is followed up with the 2016 deep cut Phone, a song which shows the talents and freestyling manoeuvres of her backup dancers. 

The lights go out, and a heavy electric guitar riff vibrates through the stadium, with a goddess like Lizzo appearing on screen posing seductively. “Where my boys at” BOYS is next, she’s looking to freak out with a man, and she doesn’t care what he looks like; she likes them all. 

The crowd approves, righteously bobbing heads to the song’s retro funk flavour and heavy bassline. Every single song had people getting up to dance to its contagious rhythm; there’s something to be said about a Lizzo concert to just how infectious the groove is that she can get an entire sold-out stadium to create a rupturing earthquake right in the heart of Perth.

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 “My body is beautiful. My body is nobody’s business. I work for my body. I look good in my body.” These words echo through the arena as the true thesis for tonight’s show in the form of a captivating interlude. America’s finest returns to the stage dressed in a sparkling gold number. “Everybody put your lights up for this next song this one’s called Jerome.”

It’s a slower moment in the show as the audience sways and falls in love with the warm buttery tones of Jerome. The sweltering ballad comes to wistful fade, followed by an instance of emotional whiplash. The beat is back, and it’s the title track of the singer’s latest LP Special. 

“Look at the person next to you and say you’re special if no one has told you yet - Perth, Australia, you’re special.” Hands are up and swaying everyone’s feeling the love; if Lizzo says I’m special, it must be so. Her vocal prowess really shines here as the singer belts out, getting down on her knees to take us to church for a true sermon in self-love. 

Mixing things up, we have a rendition of a Chaka Khan classic, I’m Every Woman, which is sung with so much passion it makes you wonder if you, too, are every woman. Everybody’s Gay is next on the agenda. “We celebrating pride now”, a now very vibrant Lizzo declares. Rainbows light up the stage and screens; it’s a big gay pride parade with Lizzo at the helm. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s gay, and there’s even a flag. Everybody is welcome here, and everybody is Special. 

“I’m proud to introduce to y’all the badest band of black women in the goddamn world “the lesbians; HIT IT!” A true highlight of the evening were Lizzo’s band, The Lesbians, soundtracking the singer’s velvety vocal punches. It’s hard-hitting licks of guitar and booming drums that really get you swinging and swaying. Here they are given a moment to themselves as a rapturous drum solo rumbles through, stirring a soulful bass that awakens a wild keytar. It’s a full-fledged harmonic battle brought to a close with an electrifying guitar solo from the lesbians’ answer to Slash

It’s time for… meditation? “Breathe in, breathe out”, the message appears on screen and through the speakers. “You’re doing great.” The Lesbians were too powerful; this arena needed a breather and a chance to calm down and reflect on the events so far. Though not for too long as the guide to basic breathing is replaced with the words “I am free”, Lizzo’s back now that we’ve settled down. The backup dancers take the helm at centre stage as Lizzo croons Water Me. 

“Now I know what you’re thinking did this bitch really put a meditation in the middle of her show?” “Yes, I did bitch”. Lizzo must have a stint at a psychic on the side because that’s exactly what I was thinking. Her answer to this is, “If you don’t leave feeling better than when you came here, I did not do my job.” 

Here it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Finally, she brings out the big guns. Lizzo’s flute appears behind pearly gates, and she takes us through the visualised Serengeti. It’s truly something everyone should experience. Perfectly pairing a cover of Coldplay classic Yellow with her song aptly also named Coldplay, after the band. She then takes us through the real classics now, forget Coldplay; it’s all about the soothing sounds of Mozart classics on the flute. She launches into Truth Hurts, the song that put her on this stage everyone’s up and scolding men to this melody. The flute really takes this song to new levels, and her energy is something you can’t match through your headphones. This woman was born to perform.

Big girls for Mike, a selfie with the banana gang, an actual DM from “spicii”, Isabelle’s wonderful portrait, and self-professed flute aficionado “Lozza” making her way through the crowd to play Lizzo, the only Aussie song she needs to know, Down Under by Men at Work on the fluteIt’s a real fever dream of audience interaction and a bizarre moment in the show.

The night ends on an immaculate high with I Love You Bitch, Good As Hell, and a real gem in the artist’s discography About Damn Time. The music legend manages to feel in control yet also free and off the cusp. Every Lizzo show is a new experience, even if the songs have been on the top 40 radio since 2018, and that control and dedication pays off in these final moments. “I want all of Perth to feel this vibration; get up on your feet and stomp this out.” Lizzo shows may be responsible for natural disasters if the magnitude of this stadium is anything to go. 

“See you all soon enough. I love you; I love you; give it up for the big boys and the big girls. 

My name is Lizzo, and I love you so much, remember you’re special!” It’s a multimedia extravaganza of love for the whole family and then some. The night Perth shook and tore RAC Arena apart, there’s even an ambulance outside for those still infected with the groove.