It’s been almost a year since SZA headlined Wireless Festival on what was a memorable night in the capital. Following the release of her critically-acclaimed album ‘SOS’, SZA returned to London this week, for four nights at the 02 Arena.
- A guest appearance from Raye
To get the night started, London’s very own Raye warmed up the crowd in style as she performed tracks from her most recent album ‘21st Century Blues.’ The artist said that she was so grateful to SZA for giving her this opportunity to grow her fanbase and perform new songs to such a big crowd. She certainly made the most of this opportunity with incredible vocals and variety from Trap to slow R&B and ended with everyone on their feet for her No.1
2) SZA’s epic Entrance
The anticipation to see one of the biggest R&B artists in the world at the sold-out 02 Arena was palpable. The moment the lights dimmed you were almost deafened by the roar from the crowd. It became even louder as SZA appeared on stage, recreating the ‘SOS’ album cover as she sat on a diving board looking over the sea. As she performed ‘PSA’ the screens dropped and she jumped into the sea.
3) The run of ‘CTRL’ Songs
SZA’s latest album ‘SOS’ – which tied for Album of the Year at this year’s BET Awards alongside Beyonce’s ‘Renaissance’ – made the US artist a household name all over the world but she first blew up with her critically-acclaimed album ‘CTRL’. The legacy and love for this album was clear as each song from that album was met with a huge roar, as SZA breathed new life into songs like ‘Broken Clocks’ and ‘Love Galore.’
4) Appearing on top of a trawler for ‘All The Stars’
The show reached new heights visually, as if they weren’t good enough already, when SZA appeared on top of a huge trawler boat on stage to perform ‘All The Stars’, her hit collaboration with Kendrick Lamar. The video screens created an immersive experience with waves crashing against the boat and lights mirroring the stormy conditions as the audience joined her on a journey across the sea.
5) SZA floating across the 02
The whole show was an ingenious feast for the eyes but nothing encapsulated this more than SZA getting on a lifeboat as she flew over the 02 guided by a lighthouse and throwing confetti to the crowd whilst singing ‘Supermodel’, ‘Nobody Gets Me’ and ‘Gone Girl.’ It really was as surreal as it sounds.
6) When the show went under the Sea
After SZA returned to the stage following her flight across the Arena, the visuals submersed her in a world under the sea. Clearly taking influence from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, SZA sang hits like ‘Love Me More’ and ‘Snooze’ whilst circular lights flashed across the arena, giving the effect of bubbles under the sea.
7) A surprise rendition of Kill Bill
The show ended with a flurry of hits but the highlight was undoubtedly SZA’s performance of ‘Kill Bill.’ The lights turned red as the artist donned the Uma Thurman-esque biker jacket and the visual screens showed a samurai fight in the background. It didn’t seem possible but somehow the crowd raised their energy to new levels as they sang along to every word with SZA.
8) Witnessing SZA’s vision come to life
SZA delivered a performance that was truly innovative and unique and the fans truly savoured every moment. It’s refreshing to see an artist at the top, not resting on their laurels but instead having a clear vision for something memorable and executing that dream to perfection. There is a reason why SZA is one of the biggest in the industry and tonight proved why.
Words by Adam Davidson
Photos by Pedro Becerra