Ariana Grande at Birmingham Genting Arena, 18th May 2017

On Thursday, I went to see Ariana Grande on her Dangerous Woman Tour. This was the second time I'd seen Ariana live and I was really excited about it because the last time I saw her was almost two years ago and she’s such an amazing live singer.

After filling ourselves with Mexican food at Las Iguanas, my sister and I made the long walk across the road to the arena. One thing I was a little disappointed with was the fact that there were no programmes for sale because every concert I go to I always buy a programme as a memento because all the other merchandise is so expensive. Anyway, we decided to take our seats pretty early because we didn’t really have anything better to do. We were sat in one of the side blocks towards the back, which was a bit strange because we had to turn sideways to be facing the stage, but it was actually a pretty good view because we were the second row in our block and luckily there weren’t hugely tall people in front of us so I could actually see! I’m only 5 foot 1 so usually I am fated to be standing on my tiptoes peering through the gaps between the people in front of me at most concerts I go to.

The first support act, Victoria Monet, was actually pretty good as far as support acts go. She had a really good voice and she got the crowd pumped up well, which not all support acts can achieve I assure you! However, the second support act BIA left a lot to be desired. A DJ came on at first and was getting the crowd hyped up by playing some tunes, and then this woman came out who the little girls behind thought was Ariana herself, bless them. Most of the songs she sang were rap/hip-hop type songs and it really wasn’t my cup of tea. I found myself wondering when it was going to end, to be honest. It felt like I was sat there for hours being subjected to that!

When those two were finally over we once again waited for Ariana to come on. Why does the waiting always feel like an eternity? At ten to 9, the lights went down and a video with a countdown came onto the screen above the stage. Everyone started screaming as we expected this to be a 10 second countdown. We thought wrong, it was ten MINUTES. We watched this countdown tediously for ten whole minutes. To be fair, it did add to the anticipation and excitement but I think ten minutes was overdoing it a bit, maybe five would have been fine.

When the countdown finally got to zero, the massive screen behind the stage lit up and Ariana
opened with ‘Be Alright’. The screen at the back was actually a huge curtain which the background images were being projected onto and it was really cool, I’ve never seen it done in that way before. From the outset her vocals were incredible; she’s one of those artists who somehow sounds better live than she does on record. She performed three more songs, ‘Everyday’, ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘Let Me Love You’, before going behind the curtain for an interlude while she did a quick costume change.

I have to admit, between every song I was expecting her to say something, as most artists do when they come on stage and talk to the audience a bit. That would be my only complaint about this show, there wasn’t that much audience interaction in terms of talking to the crowd. Obviously she waved and smiled during the songs and even reached out and touched some peoples’ hands, but she rarely stopped to actually speak to us aside from the occasional scream of ‘Sing it Birmingham!’ or something to that effect. I’m not saying this is a huge problem, because her insane vocals definitely made up for it, but in my personal opinion one of my favourite parts of a concert is when the artist talks to the crowd. It just makes it feel more personal and I enjoy what they have to say, but obviously this is a personal preference for me and it may not bother other people at all.

I was very pleased in the second part of the show when Ariana sang ‘One Last Time’, a song from her 2014 album ‘My Everything’, because it’s one of my favourites and it was the first older song she sang. Another highlight was the final song of the second part, ‘Leave me Lonely’. Her vocals during this song were absolutely stunning. She hit every single high note and I was literally in awe at how beautiful her voice was, she makes hitting those notes sound effortless.

The third interlude for a costume change was my favourite. A video was projected onto the screen of Ariana in a pretty sexy outfit, absolutely rocking it as she struck different poses. Words flashed across the screen such as ‘empowered’, ‘strong’, ‘wild’ and ‘free’, but every three words or so they were followed by ‘not asking for it’. I thought this was a really simple yet powerful way of supporting feminism without being too in your face about it, and the message was really strong especially for Ariana’s audience of primarily young girls who should be taught that they can wear whatever they want and be whoever they want to be without being taken advantage of. It was a great example of Ariana using her platform to promote important social issues.

After this was a really lively part of the show with four absolute jams back to back, ‘Side to Side’, ‘Bang Bang’, ‘Greedy’ and ‘Focus’, which got the entire crowd dancing around and going crazy. I’ve got to say that the crowd was one of the best I’ve seen, really loud and hyped up which I love. Also, my absolute favourite song from her latest album is ‘Greedy’ so I was properly jamming along and loving life when she sang that.

The final quarter of the show began with the amazingly soft and beautiful ‘Moonlight’, which is another of my favourite songs from the ‘Dangerous Woman’ album. This once again showcased her flawless vocals and the images of clouds and stars on the screen was really beautiful. During ‘Sometimes’, massive pink balloons were released from the ceiling and it was the most beautiful image, I managed to capture some pretty good photos of it which I was pretty proud of. It was also hilarious watching all the people on the floor scramble to grab a balloon to take home.

Another of my favourite visual effects she did was during ‘Thinking Bout You’, in which she had outlines of couples, some of them same-sex, in rainbow colours on a black background projected onto the screen. I thought this was so beautiful, and at the end the lights at the top of the stage shone brightly in the colours of the rainbow, which was stunning and such an amazing way to show support for the LGBT community which I know Ariana is a huge supporter of. Again, with such a young audience it’s really important that she’s sharing such issues with her fans in a subtle yet really powerful way.

By the last song of the concert, ‘Into You’, I could feel my voice cracking as I sang along way too loudly. If it doesn’t get to that point, was it even a proper concert? Ariana went off stage and then came back for the encore, ‘Dangerous Woman’ in such a beautiful black dress. The pyrotechnics and staging were really impressive not only during this song but throughout the whole show, and Ariana definitely left on a high note quite literally.

Overall I had such an amazing and fun night with a lot of energy, dancing and singing along. Ariana’s vocals were incredible as always and although I did miss the interaction with the crowd, her seamless vocals made up for it. She’s also an amazing dancer, and her backing band and dancers were incredible and added energy to the performances as a whole.

Have you seen Ariana live, been to the ‘Dangerous Woman’ tour or going to one of her upcoming shows? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you guys!

Once again thank you so much for reading, x


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