Ariana Grande @ SSE Hydro, Glasgow, 17 Sep
Despite some tracks falling flat, Ariana Grande gives a performance that is fresh, polished and good fun to watch
For such a small frame, Ariana Grande cuts quite the figure. She first appears onstage with her dance crew in a reworking of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, a fantastically melodramatic accompaniment to God is a woman, which sets the tone for a show that is visually impressive from start to finish.
Though the set makes use of similarly camp imagery – think pink limousines and money-dispensing machines – the real spectacle tonight is Grande’s voice. Her impressive vocals are on fine form, particularly electrifying during quieter moments of the set where we can hear her heartstopping falsetto trills in full force. To be able to grab an audience’s attention in such a large arena using only your voice is a skill not many pop stars possess.
Despite this, many of her songs tend to blend into one another, and given the size of the venue tonight, there are some tracks that fall flat. Though popular tracks like boyfriend and thank u, next go down a treat with the audience, their subtle production is lost in the arena, making the tracks sound a little samey, resulting in a few slumps during the set.
The choreography of the show tonight, however, is tremendous. The style is less Beyoncé uniformality, more old-school hip-hop. Though it is highly polished, the dancers have their own personalities on stage, often breaking away from each other and performing their own routines. This could look messy in the wrong hands, but instead it adds character and makes the show a pleasure to watch.
It’s only a shame that the young audience can’t seem to put down their phones. Without meaning to rant, it's vaguely alarming to see Grande’s tween fans standing almost completely still while watching the performance through the frame of a phone screen. There's something concerning that very few young audience members actually engage with the music itself; almost no one here is dancing tonight.
This is through no fault of Grande and co, who bring electrifying energy to the stage and incite the audience to dance on several occasions, but there is a sense that fans are more concerned with recording the event than enjoying it. Still, Ariana Grande gives a performance that is fresh, polished and good fun to watch.