- 23 Sep 19
Ariana Grande brought the house down at the 3Arena last night.
I never really cared much about Ariana Grande. For me, she was this cookie cutter pop star with an admittedly incredible voice. I was just never interested in her music. That all changed when she released a little track called 'Thank u, next' – you might have heard it once or twice. There was so much honesty in this track, so much real heartbreak and empowerment and I asked myself, why haven't I ever paid attention to her?
The whole album blew me away. Every song spoke to me, which is very rare for I always have a couple of songs on an album that I don't like. Thank u, next is obviously this big-production pop record but it's also a very personal piece of music from an artist that went through difficult times and is just trying to process them.
Grande's concert programme last night focused more on the uplifting side of her previous records. It makes sense, you're going to a show like this to have a good time and let loose. After all that she's been through, the singer is done with grieving and ready to embrace happiness again. Her positive energy infected the whole 3Arena, even the countless dads that were dragged along by their daughters.
From the first song – the catchy and empowering 'God Is A Woman' – it was apparent that this was going to be a proper show in the realest sense of the word. Grande and her background dancers entered the stage on a large table, imitating Da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' just like in her iconic MTV VMA performance back in 2018.
This very first glimpse of what's to come also makes you realise why Ariana Grande is as big as she is: her voice. During 'God Is A Woman' – and a slew of other songs for that matter – she hits notes that I didn't even know a human being could hit. Mariah Carey who? Grande sings the highest of whistle notes with ease! God only knows how she does this while delivering a high-energy choreography. Every note Ariana sings feels right in place, but never to calculated. Her vocals are filled with emotions and passion, giving you chills all over your body. Yes, it was that good.
When you weren't too in awe of Ariana's vocals, you were likely jumping up and down to catchy beats as the pop star has some serious party anthems. One of them, 'Break Free', served as one of the highlights of the show and got the crowd dancing.
Although the focus, sound-wise, was clearly on her vocals, Grande pulled out all the stops for the Sweetener Tour. Congenial to the space theme in 'NASA', a huge planet came out of the ceiling. And during '7 Rings', a car, similar to the one depicted in the music video, entered the stage while the singer literally threw money around. As she sings in the 'My Favorite Things'-inspired tune: "Ain't no budget when I'm on the set / If I like it, then that's what I get".
Between all the party anthems, show-stoppers and glorious ad-libs, there were surprisingly few calmer moments, like during 'Needy' when Grande just sat down in front of the stage to deliver yet another set of impressive vocals. She barely took a break between songs, only properly talking to the audience once. Weirdly enough, the concert wasn't as impersonal as it might sound like. It seemed more like her music is her way to communicate with fans.
Her last song, 'Thank u, next', didn't leave her a choice to become more personal, however, as the song is deeply connected with her private life. Before she came back on stage, the screens showed some of the headlines that announced her split from ex-fiancé Pete Davidson. The visuals soon switched to private pictures and videos of Ariana's friends and family, showcasing what helped her through the dark times and ultimately lead to the empowering message in 'Thank u, next'.
Ariana Grande entered the stage one last time, waving a rainbow flag and delivering the last chilling vocals of the night. She leaves the audience in awe of the talent they just saw. Just like her latest album, the show was a highly-produced pop sensation, but it was also a tiny glimpse into the soul of Ari, even if it was just through her music.