| 8°C Dublin

Review: Lizzo at the 3Arena in Dublin was a superstar, relatable life-coach for 11,000 fans


Lizzo pictured on stage in Dublin's 3Arena Picture: Gerry Mooney

Lizzo pictured on stage in Dublin's 3Arena Picture: Gerry Mooney

Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin


Lizzo pictured on stage in Dublin's 3Arena Picture: Gerry Mooney

Try to imagine Ryan Tubridy submitting himself to this.

In a 2020 episode of David Letterman’s Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Lizzo attempted to coach the onetime chat show king of America on recording a rap song in her body-positive style.

Letterman couldn't do it: “I’m ugly, I sweat, I’m old,” he said —before she stopped him.

“To make it a Lizzo song, you gotta be positive,” she explained.

“You can’t say, ‘I’m ugly.’ If you do say, ‘I’m ugly,’ you gotta say, ‘I’m ugly, but I like it.’”

Last night at the sold-out 3Arena in Dublin Lizzo was a superstar, if relatable, life-coach to 11,000 fans.

In a sequinned nude illusion catsuit, the high priestess of diversity, self-acceptance and body positivity – or body-normative, a phrase she prefers - had a message for all of them, delivered over two hours in concert.

Be proud of who you are and be who you are on your terms, basically.

She once said: “I don’t think that loving yourself is a choice. I think that it’s a decision that has to be made for survival.”

“It was in my case,” she added in reference to a media that was routinely fat-phobic, body-shaming and misogynist.

Her espousal of positive self-image and positive self-perception has won her many admirers and allies internationally.

Last night, she gave a euphoric, exuberant and refreshingly edgy show.

The audience appeared inspired as much by her attitude , and her warm if mischievous sense of self, as by her music.

She is an extraordinary performer, a trailblazer even, with a voice that is closer to the deep soul magic of an Aretha Franklin than the braggadocio rapping of a Nicki Minaj or a Megan Thee Stallion.

Video of the Day

You can control a crowd like a conductor an orchestra.

You can see why Time magazine put Lizzo on its cover and made her the prestigious Entertainer Of The Year 2019.

You can see why Elle magazine said: 'What the world needs now is more Lizzo.”

She has charisma in spades.


Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin

The singer's key messages of unapologetic self-love (as opposed to abject narcissism) and female solidarity came through her songs as well as her presence.

Her mission statement was unspoken if not subconscious. Big is not jus/t beautiful, it's cool.

Of course the music was nothing short of brilliant.

Unlike some of her contemporaries, Lizzo has a talent for more than showing off.

“The likes of Madonna and Kanye West, for example, act as though they are personally integral to the cause of world peace,” wrote Spencer Kornhaberin the Atlantic last year. “Yet Lizzo’s assertions of importance are pretty credible.”

Her music seemed to reach out to everybody in the 3 Arena, perhaps people struggling with self-worth or bad body image or more probably people who just wanted to have a good night out and dance to some twerky Lizzobangers like Good As Hell and About Damn Time.

From the moment she came on at 9pm, it was crystal clear that she has way too much personality for one stage.

You imagine her arriving in a helicopter at the Super Bowl anytime soon, She opened up with The Sign.

Starting as she meant to go on, she somehow rhymed “motherfucker, did you miss me?” with “I've been twerkin' and making smoothies, it's called healing”.

The show was already doing a thing called healing and the crowd was singing the lyrics back to her so loud that she changed the line in the fifth verse of “ I keep on writing these songs/'Cause he keep on doin' me wrong/And my girls keep singin' along” to “And Dublin keeps singin’ along.” She followed this with one of her most uplifting and anthemic songs, 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready).

Her all-girl band sounded like Prince in his heyday.

Then there was her three female backing vocalists, the Little Bigs and her DJ, Sophia Eris.

Lizzo was flanked by 10 female, plus-size dancers (dancers are underrepresented in the live music industry) in pink gym outfits and variously neon and barely- there rigouts - at times her Big Grrrls dance troupe were almost as much the stars of the show as the main act herself.

It was like a giant LGBTQ+ Broadway show .

Throughout the show, the crowd became Lizzo backing vocalists.

When she sang ‘Am I ready?’ the audience sang back to her, “Girl, there ain’t a doubt”. Meanwhile Lizzo asked again, “Am I ready?” before the crowd answered, “What you talkin’ ’bout?”

Then Lizzo took over, singing, “Am I ready? To be loved, to be loved.”


Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin

Lizzo in Dublin

“Is Dublin going to get down for the big girls?” she asked the crowd apropos of a certain sexual practise that rhymes with Aer Lingus.

“Get down Dublin,” she teased.

Next up, Soulmate is a hymn to self-worth and not needing anyone to love you but yourself.

She sings about being her own soulmate, being a queen “but I don't need no crown.” And then about looking in the mirror and realising “she the one.”

“And she never tell me to exercise,” Lizzo continued, “We always get extra fries.”

The song Boys turns the tables on sexual stereotypes of women and has Lizzo happily enjoying playing the field and objectifying the men of all types she finds on the aforementioned field: “I like big boys, itty bitty boys / Mississippi boys, inner city boys / I like the pretty boys with the bow tie / Get your nails did, let it blow dry.”

Introducing Grrrls, she asked the crowd: “If you're a big girl makes some noise? Dublin am I turning blg girls into hoes? We're all hoes tonight , baby.”

The words “she married herself because no man is good enough” and “my body is nobody’s business” appeared in huge lettering on the huge screen behind her as she sang ‘Rumours and then ‘’Scuse Me’.

She walked into circular shaped stage in the middle of the arena. “Is it okay if I come a little closer to you Dublin?” before singing Naked on her own.

At the end of the song, her neutral-coloured bodysuit is spotlighted with the words: “My body, my choice.”

This appears to be a reference to the debate in America over a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion.

“This is a part if the show I like to call therapy,” she then explains to the crowd.

Before she performs Jerome and asks everyone in the crowd to put on the light in their phone “to show the love they have for themselves.”

She then sings lying on a snazzy chaise longue .

“Dublin will you be my bestie tonight?” she asks when the song is completed. “Because I really need my bestie, bitch…”

“Big women are pursued for relationships, big women deal with f***boys, big women are beautiful and loving creatures, and it’s just not talked about, because it’s not the story that mainstream media chooses to tell,” she once said of ‘Jerome’.

“I’m not creating a fantasy — if it’s shocking, it’s because that story isn’t told and that’s often because big women aren’t even involved to tell their [own] stories.”

She follows this up with Break Up Twice, with those lines about how “it would be a shame not to see this through/ Who gon’ put up with your Gemini shit like I do?”, before Lizzo and her three backing singers segue into a spirited take on Lauryn Hill’s ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’ that has the whole of the 3Arena singing along.

Ahead of the next song Special, she says to the crowd to tell themselves “ In case nobody told you already today that you're special.”

There then was a mini-cover of Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman, followed by Like A Girl which had the rapper-singer-flautist singing, “woke up feeling like I just might run for president/Even if there ain’t no precedent/Switching up the messaging/I’m about to add a little oestrogen.”

Later, she looked into the crowd and saw a sign that read: "Lizzo For President.”

“You want me to be President of Ireland?” asked the young woman who dropped out of college and lived in her Subaru for six months when she was 21 after the death of her dad.. (She later told CBS This Morning: "I spent Thanksgiving in that car, and I remember I cried myself to sleep.")

Later, during Water Me, she took an Irish flag someone in the audience gave and dance around with it.

The cheer she received was gargantuan. It started the crowd into a monumental chant of ‘Ole! Ole! Ole!’ that went on for a good two minutes with an all-engulfing intensity and eardrum-denting volume.

Lizzo enjoyed it, but seemed baffled or at least bemused even as she sang the next song ‘Coldplay’ – on which she played the flute. Intriguingly, at the end of that song she smiled and said: We need to get to the bottom of that song you were singing? What is it?”

She gave the microphone to someone in the audience to sing it for her, so that she could then try to sing it herself.

This proved unsuccessful but heart-warming. ‘Ok! Ok! Ok!” she sang rather than ‘Ole! Ole! Ole!’

She handed the microphone out to someone else in the crowd to ask for the correct pronunciation of “Dublin.”

“Deb-lyn?” tried Lizzo who was born Melissa Jefferson in Detroit and brought up in Houston.

“Dub-leeen?” she tried again.

She then instructed the giant camera to show people in the audience on the screen on the stage, so that she could talk to them, or at least say very favourably things to them about their cheekbones, their hats or their signs or their shoes.

“You’re holding up a shoe? Are you doing headstand?”

A young girl handed up a flute which she had brought to the concert. Lizzo signed it. The young girl reacted like it was probably going to be the happiest moment of her life even if she lived to be a hundred.

Lizzo (34) then sang: “Dublin is the greatest crowd in the world. I know it would be, but Dublin is the greatest crowd.”

The Dublin crowd responded in kind, roaring her name so loudly that Lizzo just mouthed one word: “Wow.”

She then performed I Love You Bitch and Good As Hell before encoring with Juice and About Damn Time.

No one in the 3 Arena – least of all Lizzo – wanted the night’s performance to stop.

But at 11pm to thunderous applause for the departing superstar, the gig of the year by a mile came to an end.

She’ll be back. And so will we.

Most Watched