SZA @ American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
There's just something about SZA that I knew I loved about her but couldn't quite put my finger on. That's when I started paying attention to the details and found out her full name is Solána Imani Rowe. And there it is. Her surname is Rowe. For those that don't know, my name is Scott Rowe and SZA is my sister from another mister. Sorry, not the most professional sentence I've ever used but I just had to. You know, like 'that's what she said' jokes. But in reality, SZA is one of the most prolifically-introverted superstar in present day music, purposely or not, staying out of the limelight while simultaneously releasing one of the most highly-anticipated albums of 2022, thrusting her in the the spotlight once again.  Her latest effort, SOS, was not only an album that her fans were craving, but it was a splash with critics (which should be no surprise as debut album, Ctrl, was critically-acclaimed), rated at an unbelievable score of 90 out of 100. Simply said, it's an instant classic and the announcement of an arena tour, which sold out instantly, only made her fans more feverish to see her live. With all of that information in tow, the anticipation for this show was sky-high and you felt it was going to be special.

The atmosphere inside the AAC prior to SZA taking the stage was hard to match, as the thousands in attendance were having a ball, singing and dancing to the house music. When I mean singing and dancing, I mean belting out lyrics and having crowds of fans circle those twerking in the aisles of the arena. It was bananas. But once the house lights went out, the sound of those fans was deafening and it was only the tip of the iceberg. Sitting on a platform nearly 30-40 feet in the air, SZA opened the show with an unreleased track, "PSA". While it wasn't a song that 'got the people going', it was classic SZA, a song that trapped you in a story and made you feel it's lyrics. At the conclusion of the song, a digital SZA leapt from the platform and splashed into the screen below. It was a cool display. It was then that the 'credits' of her show displayed across the stage-sized LED displays.

And to say that this show had great production would be an understatement. The detail of every aspect of her SOS and the nautical journey the fans were taking were well-thought out and it made for a very enjoyable show. The show itself was set into different acts, separated by different aspects of her journey, from being on a ship, turbulence an inevitable shipwreck, time spent underwater. This doesn't include her time soaring across the vast crowd in a dinghy, draped in a flowing dress as she performs "Supermodel" / "Special", "Nobody Gets Me", before concluding her voyage with "Gone Girl". Again, the attention to detail for this show was second to none. It was a career-spanning affair that nearly hit the two-hour mark in 28 songs, 17 of which came from SOS. Highlights of the show included covers of her collabs with Kendrick Lamar and "All the Stars" and also with Doja Cat's "Kiss Me More". 

I can't say that I know SZA's entire catalog but after watching this show, it simply didn't matter. Her ability to reach every seat in the arena, making them feel personally part of the show, made such an impact that the entire audience was engulfed from beginning to end. While songs like "I Hate U" and "Kill Bill" made some of the biggest splashes of the night, the entire setlist was an open invitation for you to be included in SZA's world, if only for a couple of hours. After a lengthy 27 songs, she concluded her voyage back on the platform that she began with, performing a rousing version of "Good Days". The show from start to finish had me captivated, something I cannot say happens often in this line of work. When I was asked how this show was, I simply said this was the best show I've seen this year and it's going to be hard to beat. I stand by those words because her performance was sublime. The production was amazing and played into the whole 'story' of the show and gave it a life of its own. I was blown away and I cannot wait to see her perform again.

Photos of the show are below:

SZA @ American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX SZA @ American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on March 13, 2023 Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.