Lizzo, “The Special Tour”
with special guest Latto
Nov. 12, 2022
San Francisco, California
“If you have a mother-fucking dream, never, ever stop chasing it!” special guest Latto instructed the audience at San Francisco’s Chase Center Saturday night. The rapper added, “Now I’m on tour with Lizzo!” before launching into the track “Sunshine” and wrapping her set with her breakthrough hit “Big Energy,” which recently won Song of the Year at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
Latto’s enthusiastic declaration of self-empowerment fit with the theme of the night at Lizzo’s “The Special Tour.” This was more than just another concert. Sure, it was one hell of a show, complete with hit after danceable hit, amazing stage production, lighting, kick-ass dancers and talented musicians. But on top of being an excuse to forget your troubles and let loose by getting your groove on, the evening also served as a motivational seminar and self-love retreat – from the lyrics in Lizzo’s feel-good tunes to the messages she shared in between songs. It was pretty much impossible not to have a giant smile on your face the whole show and leave with a boost to your self esteem.
With the house lights turned low and bursts of fog rolling across the stage, Lizzo’s set kicked off with an inspirational message from the three-time Grammy award winner, setting the mood for the performance to come. Lizzo noted that the night’s setlist was filled with songs about love – love for your friends, love for your significant other and perhaps most importantly, love for yourself.
“If you’d just take the time to give a little love to yourself every single day, treat yourself with respect, treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated and then treat somebody else with that same level of respect, that expands, that grows – and that could save a life,” she said.
Lizzo then launched into “The Sign,” the first track from her fourth studio album, Special, which was released in June and peaked at No. 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
“Did you miss me?” Lizzo sang. “I’ve been home since 2020. I’ve been twerkin’ and making smoothies, it’s called healing. And I feel better since you seen me last.”
And of course, the answer was a resounding yes. Lizzo has made up for the lost time due to the COVID pandemic with the release of the critically acclaimed Special album and the success of the LP’s accompanying arena tour.
Throughout the show Lizzo continued preaching the self-love gospel and encouraged fans to ponder, “When was the last time you said something kind about yourself?”
Ahead of the song “Soulmate,” which hails from her 2019 major label debut studio album, Cuz I Love You, Lizzo instructed the audience to sing “I’m the one! I’m the one.” She added, “Not number two. You’re the one,” followed by her signature twerking.
And in between the title track from her new album, Special, and the feminism anthem “Like A Girl” (Sample lyrics: I don’t need you, I’m Macaulay Culkin home alone / Bad bitch, diamonds in my collarbone / Buy my whip by myself / Pay my rent by myself), Lizzo noted, “This is for anyone who’s ever been told no. I’m telling you yes, bitch! You can do anything!”
Highlights from the evening included moments that showed off her all-women backing band’s chops, from the Lizzbians playing the opening riff of Yes’ 1971 prog-rock masterpiece “Heart Of The Sunrise” as an introducing to her catchy hit “Boys” to an extended guitar solo leading into “Tempo.”
While Lizzo’s backup dancers, the Big Grrrls, added a lot to the performance with their spirited moves, Lizzo was wise to take to the stage alone for some of her slower songs and let her vocals shine.
A stand-out moment from the show was Lizzo’s rendition of “Naked,” which hails from her new album. Fans throughout the arena held up their cell phone lights and swayed back and forth as Lizzo demonstrated her vocal prowess – with careful restraint – to the intimate song dedicated to body-positivity. The crowd erupted in cheers toward the end of the song as a spotlight on Lizzo revealed a powerful statement on the front of the star’s skin-colored leotard: “My Body My Choice.”
Throughout the night Lizzo seemed to be having a fantastic time herself, whether she was tossing her hair from side to side, showing off her gorgeous grin or putting her hands to her heart and looking out at the packed arena as she took it all in.
Of course Lizzo had to bust out her amazing talents on the flute. During a performance of “Water Me,” Lizzo explained that she just bought a new flute – a platinum flute to match her platinum record.
She added that she needed help coming up with the perfect name to go along with her collection that features Sasha Flute, Blew Ivy and Gilda Ronstadt. The audience busted up laughing after Lizzo repeated a suggestion from a fan – Steph Curry – in honor of the NBA point guard whose team the Golden State Warriors call the Chase Center home.
Though the Chase Center has a capacity of more than 18,000, Lizzo made sure to make everyone in the venue feel special, whether fans were lucky enough to score tickets in the general admission floor section or were sitting in one of the upper balconies as she spent a good chunk of time complimenting attendees’ sparkly, bright outfits and posters across the arena.
To go along with the tune “I Love You, Bitch” Lizzo said, “This song is dedicated to you. This is ‘The Special Tour’ and I just want you to know you’re special. It feels so good standing in front of you. The likes and streams are cool but this is where the love is. If you leave with nothing else I want you to leave with this feeling, this smile on your face, this optimism. You’re beautiful, I love you and you can do anything.
“I’m going to ask you one more time: When’s the last time you said something kind to yourself?”
After instructing fans to stomp all of the negativity and bullshit out with their feet, Lizzo exited the stage and then returned for the encore with two of her catchiest tunes and self-love anthems: “Juice” and “About Damn Time.”
As Lizzo belted out “Turn up the music, turn down the lights / I got a feelin’ I’m gon’ be alright” and the night ended with a final dance party, it was clear that we were all gonna be more than alright.