Updated: Jun 2, 2019
I've loved Lizzo for a very long time now and was gutted when I learnt that I'd missed her sell out gig for Gorilla in Manchester - so imagine my delight when the venue was upgraded to the O2 Ritz over the road and its 1500 capacity.
I was in town 3 hours early and whilst my date and I went for a few drinks, we could hardly contain my excitement. Going to the queue about 45 minutes early is something I rarely do, but it was starting to get busy so we went over because I wanted to be near the front.
Lizzo is a woman who raps about loving ones self; embracing all you are and above all not worrying about what others think of you. It's no wonder her lyrics resonate so much with me.
The queue were definitely embracing her message. I've never seen such an army of glitter, fabulous outfits or culturally diverse crowd waiting for a gig or even outside of a Mardi Gras. But this is Manchester, and this was Lizzo.
Hardly able to contain my excitement I even played the Lizzo playlist in the queue. Yes I admit it. No one minded and those around us were singing and bopping.
On entrance to the gig my date who'd purchased a ticket on line from someone "selling one", horribly had to find out it was a scam. I offered to leave with her, but she insisted I go in and so we arranged to meet up outside afterwards, and so I was in.
I'd not heard of DJ Sophia Eric prior to the gig (she played the decks when Lizzo performed) and it's not that uncommon to have a DJ as a warm up (I saw Calvin Harris do the same for Rihanna at the O2 in a former life).... but by Christ was her set up there. From Aretha Franklin to the Spice Girls, she read the crowd perfectly and her set was way too short if anything.
Then after 20 minutes, the tunes in-between the acts stopped.
Queue two spotlights, beams pointing to the centre of the smoke filled and darkened stage.
Then came that first riff for 'Coz I Love You" blasting from the speakers and the queen of sass, the princess of self love, the one and only Lizzo appeared singing the first lines and the place went mental.
I sung every word, danced for 90 minutes solid and sweated profusely, as did everyone around me. I've not felt so much love for one artist from so many smiling, sweaty people.
I'm not going to pretend that I can remember every song she did, because I can't. I was too caught in the moment.
At one point we were all chanting Lizzo, Lizzo, Lizzo... and you could see the genuine shock on her face. She said she thought Atlanta were loud but Manchester was something special. I've been to a lot of gigs in Manchester and preferring to go to the smaller venues (the Apollo is the biggest I've been to) I've been to see a lot of music. But the noise generated by this crowd was on another level. I've not heard this much noise in a crowd 3 times bigger than the one I was in last night.
She ended with Juice and I've shared the small clip of this I took as well as the other ones I managed to get whilst dancing... but not whole songs because you can only half dance for a small while before you have to let yourself go.
When the lights up all 1500 souls were smiling. We were all sweaty.
And we were all more in love with this woman than we already were.
P.S. My date told me she would have been mad at me had I not gone in. I also greeted her to a very loud rendition of "Cuz I Love You" as I saw her with my arms wide in my sweaty red faced state and she thought it was hilarious.