By Neil Durham
WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHEN?: Tuesday 3 May 2022, tour runs until 16 November 2022
GRIFF SETLIST: Say It Again; Walk; Forgive Myself; One Foot In Front Of The Other; Head On Fire; One Night; Shade Of Yellow; Black Hole
DUA SETLIST: Physical; New Rules; Love Again; Cool; Pretty Please; Break My Heart; Be The One; We’re Good; Good In Bed; Fever; Boys Will Be Boys; One Kiss; Electricity; Hallucinate; Cold Heart; Levitating; Future Nostalgia; Don’t Start Now
We arrive early at this venue because we want to see support act Griff who was named the Rising Star at 2021’s BRIT Awards and released her debut album last year.
- Read on for reasons including how Dua Lipa made good on Levitating at this gig
We’ve said before that sets that open shortly after pre-show DJs play early Prince tracks rarely disappoint and so it is here as the 21-year-old wears her 80s influences on her sleeve as she even incorporates a snatch of Whitney Houston’s joyous I Wanna Dance With Somebody towards the close of this accomplished set.
Elsewhere she references lockdown and how many of these self-penned songs were written during that time and how she could only imagine playing them here before this enthusiastic sell-out crowd.
We’re here predominantly because we love Griff’s duet with Sigrid, the anthemic Head On Fire which isn’t on the latter’s 2nd album How To Let Go released today, and we’re still marvelling at how early Kim Wilde Griff’s big hit Black Hole sounds.
It’s a fine support set albeit all too brief which serves as a thrilling appetiser for tonight’s main attraction not least because we managed to get so close to the stage at this arena venue a stone’s throw from where we live.
We 1st saw Dua Lipa in Brighton in 2017 months after monsta-winning single New Rules and said then: ‘What impresses most is the husky rasp Dua uses to wring the best from her songbook. What next? The Chris Martin co-write Homesick is a heartfelt anthem showing she’s in no way outshone by a superstar collaborator. We predict more major collaborations for album two and greater success around the world.’
When sophomore album Future Nostalgia was released as the world went into lockdown in April 2020, it quickly became clear how much of a tonic it was proving. We said then: ‘The title track here seems to refer to the collection’s ability to mine some of the nuggets of pop’s past while incorporating them into some dancefloor gems of this year and beyond.
‘There really isn’t a duff track here and if the lyrics are a little disposable (we’re particularly enjoying: ‘My love is like a rocket, watch it blast off, And I’m feeling so electric, dance my ass off (Levitating)) they are carried off with an unmistakeable flair.’
This arena-sized production has been much re-arranged and it quickly becomes clear thanks to a pre-show film introducing the show’s many dancers how much thought and choreography has been put into this fun show.
There’s more props than you can fill a Eurovision semi with including a ballet rail, brollies indoors and rollerskates.
We’re no longer standing near the front as we were for Griff but there’s much fun to be had dancing at the back of the arena to Future Nostalgia‘s mix of well known hooks, riffs from the past, performed brialliantly even if the lyrics are a little basic.
The crowd’s very exciteable, this gig’s been a long time coming, and Lipa’s rapport with the crowd and chat is stronger than when we 1st saw her in Brighton in 2017.
She’s a real star now, looks amazing, and has some great tunes that are never overawed by superstar collaborators such as Elton John and Calvin Harris.
What next? Future Nostalgia was a real step on from her debut and the superstar collaborations have only buffed Lipa’s star brighter. As she rides high above the crowd in a crane that makes good on her Levitating promise and the arena is showered in glitter, we’d like Lipa’s songwriting to progress to the point where we get a better feel of what makes her as an artist tick.
But that’s for tomorrow and the future whereas tonight’s Future Nostalgia will do just fine, for now.
- Pictures by Facebook courtesy Dua Lipa, except the Griff pic by Neil Durham Tickets
- Have you heard any of these songs or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
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