SZA performing at the O2 arena

REVIEW: SZA at the O2 Arena was electric and breathtaking

It was hard to believe SZA had finally made it across the pond.

The 33-year-old singer has been somewhat off the grid since her debut album CTRL came out in 2017, which turned her from an indie sweetheart to a R&B icon with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott keen to collaborate.

SZA breaks the boundaries of traditional R&B albums. She takes her listeners along a journey of heartbreak, self acceptance and love while incorporating different genres like rock and rap.

Bringing her album cover to life by immersing the O2 in blue waves of light on her second night there on June 18, SZA was revealed overlooking the waves, dangling her legs from a diving board.

The audience knows what’s coming shortly after the opening visual starts to cover her again.

The screen, now hiding her, shows a visual of her plunging into the ocean.

This created the electric atmosphere that stayed present right until her final song. 

The breathtaking production helped narrate the story, fitting her “SOS” aesthetic to perfection as she continued to perform “Seek and Destroy” and “Notice Me” behind a rusty sailboat.

Contrary to the dark, grungy visual, the energy in the arena was alive. 

Fans who had seen TikTok posts 24 hours prior may have been expecting a fiery appearance from La Flame, American rapper Travis Scott.

Throwing back to her debut album, the first seconds of their song “Love Galore” echoed around the O2, while the anticipation built whether he’d make a back-to-back cameo for the second-night London crowd.

He didn’t – but you wouldn’t have known he wasn’t present for his parts of the Grammy nominated song, as the audience and SZA whole-heartedly filled in for him.

Not a single ounce of disappointment was felt as the audience’s eyes remained fixed on their queen. 

The final production scene was a beautiful warm sunrise. SZA was back on the diving board as if she made it through the other side of the storm, and was on her way to safety.

She performed her final song ‘Good Days’ as if she was reflecting on the journey she’d just undertaken. 

The crowd began to leave reluctantly, coming to terms that was the end of the show, when SZA emerged from the set to the very front of the stage, to address her beloved fans.

She thanked them for their endless support and shared how relieved she was she did her full set in time for the strict Sunday curfew.

After naming them as the best crowd so far on her tour and telling them she felt nothing but love in the arena, she blew a kiss and off she went. 

This felt like a bittersweet moment as all her fans know it is rare for her to perform.

Although it was her first set of shows in the UK, I have a feeling it won’t be her last.

So if you get the chance to see her in the future, cherish it, as a star like her doesn’t come around very often.

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