Last year the dangerous woman, Ariana Grande, announced her Dangerous Woman Tour promoting the album of the same name. While Ariana Grande has been a solid artist since her 2013 single "The Way" I didn't join her camp until the 2014 hit "Problem." I really lost my mind when "Break Free" ft. Zedd dropped because you can ask my friends I played it 5 times a day everyday! I have always loved shitty pop music and she is an artist who has been able to grow and get better with time unlike many modern pop acts. I have grown to a level of fandom where in my fall semester I bought tickets to her show in Buffalo, NY, on February 21. Keep in mind, I have no car and I am in Geneva, NY. I was 2 hours away to the show and I had no friend who could drive me.
Just when I was at the point of locking myself in my room for the rest of my life, my friend Cindy told me she would be willing to make the drive with me. I had absolutely no pain in paying for the car. I already dropped 2 bills on my ticket to the concert, at this point money was not on my mind. (How responsible huh?) Cindy and Shantell waited for me by Emerson Hill and then we were off!
I'll skip the boring part where we drove for 2 hours in rain and Cindy had road rage. Just know that I cried once or twice on the way there.
Once I got to the show the real magic began! I had floor seats and I was right in the middle of the stage. I looked at her dead on #ICant.
This show was definitely fitting for the theme of Dangerous Woman. The show was sensual, sexy, simple, and sonically rich. Sets were more focused on Ariana showing off her vocals rather than on theatricality. Lighting was very minimalist, and so photo and video was hard to obtain. The stage was also very simple. It was just a large curtain with projections being displayed. (If you went to Selena Gomez's Revival tour the screen set up was similar.) I would say the biggest wow moment came in "Side to Side" because she not only had a platform but also had the iconic bicycles. Of course, when she sang "Into You" I had to invest my mind, body, and soul into that moment.
The songs performed included (in no particular order and I may be missing some): Be Alright, Love Me Harder, Greedy, One Last Time, Break Free, Into You, Dangerous Woman, Forever Boy, Sometimes, Side to Side, Bad Decisions, Let Me Love You, Everyday, Leave Me Lonely, Thinking Bout You, and Bang Bang.
During the show, Ariana also had a lot of solo moments. She would sing alone and the stage would simply light up and project her face up. Her costume themes also went for a more low key but also avant garden look. Her signature ponytail was only present in the opening and the rest of the show invited her long hair to drape down, with the exception of two little buns. Echoing her cat ear motif.
Most of her outfits were crop tops and MC Hammer looking pants. Her thigh-high boots made a brief appearance but you could tell that this Ariana was not the same "Problem" singer from a while ago.
The songs, old and new, were remixed for the show and I wish she released a studio version of the tracks! For example, "Be Alright" had new life as a Vogue inspired piece. "Break Free" and "Problem" weren't as bubbly as you expected, instead synths and heavier beats saturated the songs. "Into You" and "Touch It" had a lot more instrumentals than expected, and "Dangerous Woman" was a fiery closer.
This being my second time seeing Ariana in concert I admit that I had some expectations. I expected glitter, glam, and lights. When I saw her in the "The Honeymoon Tour" she was promoting My Everything and it was an album that carried themes of love, empowerment, and self-reflection. That concert was definitely more of what you expected from Ariana, it being her first national tour. From bright lights, to confetti raining from the sky, and dancers in between a band, that concert was busy to watch. Like I mentioned earlier, I think this concert was more simplistic because the focus now is on Ariana the singer and less of Ariana the performer. Yes there is a difference, but it's not as bad as it sounds.
Ariana Grande is only the second artist who I have seen twice in concert, the other being Selena Gomez, and I can see that for each singer it's a decision I am glad I made. I sang, I danced, I screamed, I did it all. When my friends asked me, "Will why would you go threw all that trouble?" I answer, "Because I needed something to make me happy."
Right before I went to her show I was at the PossePlus Retreat and that's always an emotionally taxing event. This was a treat I gave to myself to congratulate myself on holding it together this semester. It's very tough to go so long without going home. When an opportunity like this arises I take it. I went to the see Ariana for the first time before coming to HWS back in L.A. Here I am feeling nostalgia while in Upstate NY.
By the way, yes that is Justin Bieber. Ariana brought him out to help her sing "Love Me Harder" during the "Honeymoon Tour" and it was ICONIC.
The point I want to make is that concerts are such a pleasure to attend! I love seeing an artist reinvent their songs for a live audience. It's interesting to see how they coordinate bodies, lights, and sounds to make a memorable moment for everyone in the crowd. Ariana's show was not a let down and I am so grateful for getting to attend it! The video below is just one of my favorite videos I have of Ariana!
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.