“I apologize for everything that’s about to happen in the next 90 minutes.” Those were the final words of the 21-year-old girl sitting in front of me at an Ariana Grande concert. As soon as Grande stepped onstage, the young girl started screaming and hysterically crying as her hero began the concert.
That was just a small sample of what I witnessed last Saturday night at the Barclays Center for the Ariana Grande concert. I went with fellow Daily Mix Reporter, LordTreeSap. I’ve always liked Ariana Grande. Obviously, Grande has a great voice. No note is too high for her. Her singles are usually pop and dance-friendly that will blast on your car radios for months. However, her live performances and shows were something I knew little about. That is until I witnessed Grande in her element. As soon as Grande walked onto the stage for her opening set, the crowd’s roar was deafening. I happened to see One Direction back in 2012 when they performed on X-Factor and that was easily the loudest roar I have ever heard for a band in my life. Ariana Grande is now the second loudest I’ve ever heard.
Grande’s concert mirrored a play rather than a concert. The concert was a five-act play with an encore. Grande would sing 4-5 songs with unique set piece/theme, leave the stage to change outfits, and come back onstage to sing the next act with an entirely new backdrop. I marveled at Grande’s choreography and set pieces. Grande was in control the entire time, hitting her marks with ease and transitioning from song to song seamlessly. It’s not just a show. Rather, it’s an experience. Grande tells a story within each act that revolves around various themes such as female empowerment, breakups, love, loss, and relationships.
The average person at the concert might not realize how many hits Grande truly has. At age 25, Grande has released five albums with two of those, Sweetner and Thank U, Next, coming within the past year. Most of the songs from the show came from the two most recent albums, but Grande turned back the clock for some of my personal favorites, “Break Free,” “Side to Side,” and “Into You.” I was bopping my head the entire concert like the awkward white guy that I am. What I appreciated from Grande the most were her vocals. Grande’s vocals shined especially during ballads such as “R.E.M,” where she dropped to her knees and poured her emotion out to the crowd.
Below is the entire setlist from the show.
Sap and I talked about seeing artists and bands during the height of their powers. Imagine seeing the Beatles in the 60s, Elton John in the early 70s, Bruce Springsteen in the 80s, Tupac and Biggie in the 90s, and even recent stars like Beyonce and Taylor Swift in the 2000s. Ariana Grande may never end up as big as those stars and perhaps, she may even be bigger, but it was quite clear during the concert that the young singer is a superstar who is here to stay.