REVIEWS Mar 13, 2017 | Jeremy Ames
Originally published on Bandsintown
You’ll know it when you see it—Dua Lipa’s one-of-a-kind spiral dance. As her arms twist in the air, her knees flex to the music, winding in a circle in front of her fans. The visual is like that of a genie being released from a bottle, somewhat reminiscent of ’90s Christina Aguilera (a performer whom the English singer-songwriter lists as one of her biggest influences to date).
On the stage at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Saturday, March 4, Dua Lipa is, in fact, the genie of the night. “Boston you feelin’ sexy?” she asks, getting us amped up with her ironically named opening song, “Last Dance”. As a result, the audience members—several who could be seen extending red roses towards the stage—ebb and flow like her music.
You’d be hard pressed to find a song that better describes where an artist is in their career than “Hotter than Hell”, which was part of her Boston setlist. Another banger featured? “Scared To Be Lonely”, released with Martin Garrix in January of this year, and written about relationships being better at the beginning. In less than two months, it has seen 100 million listens on Spotify. Hearing the song performed live is alone worth the price of admission, and warrants Lipa’s self-proclaimed “dark pop” genre. There was a second when the chorus ended and the club-like music began, which sent the audience members into hysterics. Two fans in the crowd later confessed that they’d spent four hours waiting outside in the near 0°F wind chills to be there, and that it was “totally worth it” for moments like that.
The Genie and Her “Genesis”
Introducing “Genesis”, as an exploration of the honeymoon phase of a relationship, the 21-year-old positioned it towards the end of her set, describing its special significance to her right now. “How can we go back to the beginning?” she asks in the lyrics. It’s one of those songs that starts with the listener wanting to know more about the artist’s story, but finishes with self-discovery. After all, who can’t relate to that passionate start to relationships that you later strive to return to?
Just a year and-a-half ago, she released her second single, “Be the One”, which, on this night, was her penultimate song. (“New Love”, her first single, stays on the shelf.) Last year, she was still playing small venues throughout England, yet there was something unique about her sound. It was almost as if her vocals were moderately distorted in order to give her that total rockstar vibe…like she was either preparing for or accelerating what was to come. Now, the vocals are pure, stripped down, further highlighting the quality of her voice.
Her recent, non-stop touring schedule has seemingly formed the building blocks for where she is today. Before she began “Thinking of You”, she reminded us that the last and only time she played in Boston was the fall of 2016 when she was opening for Troye Sivan. It was the first arena she’d played, and happened to be right next door to the Paradise. “She’s made for arenas,” commented the guy to my right, which made this performance at the 800 capacity venue even more precious.
My Three Wishes
The genie metaphor wouldn’t be complete without them—here are my three wishes for Dua Lipa in 2017:
1. That she continues the excitement and humility she’s displayed in these early days of her stardom. She seems to genuinely care about her fans, as evidenced by asking them not to wait outside in the cold to meet her after the show for fear that they’d get sick. Instead, she meets the hundreds of lingering fans inside.
2. That her music continues to match, or even beat the excitement that it has created within her fanbase. Rather than bore, if she continues to play “Blow Your Mind (Muah)”, like her encore performance on this night (in which she fake kisses the audience), she’ll stay on this skyrocketing path.
3. That she remains just barely out of the grasp of mainstream, or, if she must break through, lets her roots guide her.
For now, Dua Lipa has danced her way back in the bottle, the genie of the night. While this review was based on her show in Boston, check out our photos from her concert this past weekend in Houston, (which saw an opening performance from Ro Ransom), then make sure to track her on Bandsintown!
Photo Gallery: Houston