“I fucking love New Zealand!” SZA proclaimed midway through her debut performance in our country last night - a show originally intended for The Powerstation, before overwhelming demand led to an upgrade to the Logan Campbell Centre. The sold-out show last night was a testament to the incredible 2017 that SZA has had - from releasing her critically beloved album ‘CTRL’ (we placed it at #3 on our Albums Of The Year), to receiving five Grammy nominations, there’s no denying her sheer talent.
Performing predominantly songs from ‘CTRL’, each song in her set felt bigger and better than those that had preceded - however album highlights ‘Normal Girl’ and ‘Garden (Say It Like Dat)’ were incomparable in a live setting. A live three-piece band accompanied SZA for the duration of the show, giving the show a whole lot more life than other comparable R&B acts who perform with just a DJ.
The show was thrown back to the “OG” when she performed ‘HiiiJack’ and ‘Child’s Play’ from the 2014 ‘Z’ EP - before diving straight back into ‘Normal Girl’ and the Kendrick Lamar featuring ‘Doves In The Wind’.
Despite struggling with a number of technical difficulties throughout the show (which were handled with grace), SZA entranced the entire venue throughout her short but near flawless set - which saw her share stories about the writing of particular songs (like the time she “smoked the whole bag of weed” before writing ‘Drew Barrymore’, to sharing the relatable sentiment of feeling like an outsider which saw her write ‘Normal Girl’).
Her love for the audience escalated as the show went on - “I wish I could have a meet and greet with y’all, I am so in love with you,” she proclaimed, before pulling out an iPhone to take a video with the entire crowd in the background. It’s clear that the show was equally as special for her as it was for us.
New Zealand changed my fucking life . Thank you for this beautiful refreshing energy thank you for gifting me my greenstone (pounamu) thank you for these GORGEOUS ass beaches Even more gorgeous people! Yummiest food Thank you for EVERYTHING ! Next stop Melbourne ! See u again very soon . Special place in my heart.
Closing out her set with ’20 Something’, SZA made sure to promise to the audience, "I will be back," before running down into the audience to take photos with a number of very enthusiastic fans. We’ll hold you to that, SZA.
Doves In The Wind
Garden (Say It Like Dat)