Lizzo’s fall arena tour doesn’t begin until Sept. 23, but she wasn’t going to let Friday’s release of her new “Special” album go by without greeting at least a few of them in the flesh, and many more via a livestream. Over the full three-day weekend, New York’s Cipriani 25 was transformed into a LED dance house for “Lizzoverse,” the first night of which was devoted to an intimate listening party and live concert, with the singer performing all 12 tracks from the new album in a show that streamed via Amazon Music’s Twitch channel.
The opening night party/performance began with fans dancing to a Prince- and Beyonce-filled playlist that felt like it could well have been curated by Lizzo herself. The performance proper began with the venue turning pitch black, soon punctuated by small electronic stars projected onto walls and ceiling as an automated Lizzo voice instructed fans to “sit back, relax and prepare for takeover… byeeee bitch.” The singer then took the stage as the studio version of the opening track, “The Sign,” played. Wearing a bright pink sequined jumpsuit, Lizzo delighted the small live audience by jumping and throwing leg kicks, while belting ad libs.
Lizzo’s brand was ever-present as dancers from her six-time Emmy-nominated “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” next joined her to perform the hit “About Damn Time.” The lead single from the album — currently the No. 2 song on the Billboard Hot 100 — has clearly resonated with fans, as those on hand chanted every lyric and hummed every melody. The dancers’ energy further amped up the crowd in their playful moments with Lizzo. Speaking of the small but pivotal changes her plus-sized dancers represent, the singer remarked, “You see, this is what ‘Big Grrrls’ was all about… It wasn’t just a show… These girls are getting paid… They’ve been on the road with me; we were just at the BET Awards.”
Another musical highlight arrived as Lizzo began serenading a group of fans with “Break Up Twice,” a throwback R&B song that features a Lauryn Hill “Doo Wop (That Thing)” interpolation — as constellations mirroring women’s derrieres filled the space.
About a hundred AmEx cardholders were able to join the opening-night-hang. Fans who couldn’t catch the listening party were still able to join in on some of the fun on the subsequent two days of the installation, which had several encores throughout the weekend for which fans were able to reserve spots and listen to the album together.
Lizzo closed the livestream out by thanking her fans for staying strong throughout the last two years: “Thank you for staying alive; thank you for surviving.”
Lizzo’s tour begins Sept. 23 in Sunrise, Florida. On Monday, the singer announced two additional dates for the tour, both of them second nights on the coasts. She’s added an Oct. 3 date at Madison Square Garden on top of her gig there the night before, and similarly, what looked to be a tour-closing show Nov. 18 at the Kia Forum in L.A. is now being augmented by a Nov. 19 follow-up. Public on-sale for these two added shows is 10 a.m. local time this Friday. AmEx is offering a cardholder presale beginning Tuesday at 10 local time.