SZA is the master of themes. Her hit 2022 album SOS represents the singer’s latest chapter since her 2017 breakthrough project CTRL, reflecting on past loves, womanhood and her evolving sense of self. SZA’s ability to channel universal experiences in the studio was just as powerful in a stadium of thousands. The heartfelt energy of SZA’s impassioned crowd radiated throughout London’s O2 arena in London on Sunday night. Their energy started at 100 and stayed that way. It’s typical to have such sustained energy from fans at the very front of a show, but for an entire stadium to recite every lyric with just as much heart as the artist was impressive.
It’s easy to get lost in the moment at a SZA show as the atmosphere is intentionally curated. Opening with hits like Love Galore, SZA transported fans to an ocean getaway. Much like her SOS album cover, we first see SZA perched on the edge of a diving board. SZA sets sail and never loses speed by seamlessly integrating sea storm and submarine visuals as she performs from onboard a ship. Her vocals were divinely angelic and the sound production was both dreamy and cinematic. There was never a dull moment, from the magical set design to SZA’s dynamic choreography to even the slowest of ballads.
The sheer range of SZA’s Pop R&B discography and the impact of her songwriting shined abundantly. A moment to remember included a functional lighthouse shining onto the crowd as SZA floated above in a lifeboat, sprinkling white petals below, while singing Supermodel. She then serenaded her audience with Nobody Gets Me, a song she says she wrote about a former fiancé. Fans gazed above in awe while belting every word in unison. She ended her show back on the diving plank with a sunset backdrop that transcended into a starry night while singing Good Days. It was a beautiful end to an expertly crafted performance.
photography. Pedro Becerra
words. Shama Nasinde