It hasn’t been an easy road for Ariana Grande to get to Melbourne. With the tragedy of Manchester and Ari being understandably forced to cancel shows straight after, it’s awesome to finally have her in Australia and in high spirits again for her Dangerous Woman tour.
This isn’t my first time seeing the tiny framed, long pony tailed, pop star. She supported Nicki Minaj during her surprise show at the grand opening week of T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas. That was pretty cool. However, Ari was stiff and a little awkward. Her voice was on point throughout her rhythm lacking performance, though. But it was like she was thinking way too much about her next step before having to make it. Nevertheless, her powerhouse voice was sensational.
Security was tight. Never have I had to wait in a long line to pass security. Understandably so, there was a no bag policy, but so many disobeyed and were sent to the back of the line after being told to head to Hisense to check in their bags. There was a notable lack of energy in the crowd that night. Whether it was because it was her first show in Melbourne since Manchester, I don’t know. But I didn’t sense excitement.
Unsupported, the ten minute mark brought on a countdown on the large wide screen that hung at the rear of the stage. With the time running off the clock, a straight haired Ariana Grande, posed and smiled and constantly played with her hair in a pre-recorded video. This was accompanied with several hits such as Beyonce’s Hold Up and That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars. It was a never seen before and clever way to warm up a crowd. I started to become excited and sung along to all the hits, but still, the thousands of teenagers and their parents around me weren’t firing up at all. Hardly no one around me were singing as proudly.
Finally, she hit the stage in all black, wearing knee high boots singing Be Alright. Magenta shined through all the lights around the T-shaped stage. Eventually, I would realise that the knee high boots would remain a theme for her outfit changes and colours like, purple, blue and red would be dominant from the light show. Noticeably, she was not in her signature hair do, but instead sported a straight hair look, with some pieces pined back.
All the hits were there but the crowd was just not loud enough. Concerts are an opportunity to show your love for the person you are seeing. As much as you are there to see them sing and perform, you want to sing on top of your lungs so they know how much you appreciate them. I didn’t see or hear any of that.
The costume changes were longer than what I’ve seen in the past. As she went off for almost five minutes at a time, and five minutes can be a long time, the band would continue to play distracting the crowd from the wait. Ari looked divine every time she came back out. Her outfit would go from black to white, and one signature move she would make whilst coming out for Know Better/Forever Boy would be the big jacket that would never sit on her shoulders.
She didn’t miss any of the hits in her playlist; from tracks from the My Everything album and all the ones we love from Dangerous Woman. You name it, she didn’t skip anything.
She would eventually wear a burgundy jump suit which almost made her look like Pocahontas (as observed by my concert buddy and cousin) with a black chocker around her neck. A significant moon crescent was imbedded on her chest as she sang slower hits like Moonlight. This is where she got the chance to show off her most powerful bits of her vocal range. It’s absolutely no doubt that the girl can sing.
The T-shape stage allowed Ari to get a little closer to her fans on either side. She took advantage of that space, constantly running down the runway and made her way from right to left to sing to either side.
For Side to Side, we got to witness a performance only seen on award shows and in the video itself. Sitting up high on the platform of the stage were those exercise bikes. It’s become renowned performance for Ari and I won’t be surprised if in thirty years time, when they are giving her a lifetime achievement award, and she has to perform prior, she will be bringing the exercise bikes with her.
Two songs were remixed. Usually high tempo, Break Free and Problem were broken down into something a little slower. But I was very pleased to hear that my jam Into You was untouched.
The highlight of her entire concert had to be her version of Over the Rainbow. I’ve never witnessed silence in an arena concert before, but when that screen turned pink, and displayed what we’ve come to know as the symbol that pays tribute to the victims in Manchester; the black ribbon with Ari’s well known rabbit ears on top, the crowd did not make a sound. Whilst singing the classic Wizard of Oz song, she would often find it hard to complete sentences and continue as she chocked up in emotion, but she pulled through and it was beautiful.
Ariana would come out one last time with a final costume change, this time in all leather and black with a draping cape. She finished up with her title track, Dangerous Woman, told the crowd she loved them and off she went.
What I saw this time compared to what I saw in Vegas were two completely different performances by Ariana. She definitely can dance, and though her dancing isn’t the main concern of hers and that she doesn’t do too much of it, as she is more about vocals than dancing, she still steered aware from the awkward, over-thinking and stiff performer I saw in Vegas. Her ten male dancers did all the dancing for her. I wish the crowd was into it though. It would have created a more exciting environment for others and Ari.
I cannot finish without congratulating Ariana and taking my hat off to her for what she has been through with her fans and where she is now. She’s a great singer, and decent performer and her music is very enjoyable. But she loves her fans, and I believe that this tour is definitely dedicated to them.