MP3 TAKES — SZA’s ‘SOS Tour’ [Review]
Introducing MP3 TAKES, our event review series where we dive deep into the exhilarating world of music festivals and live performances. In an era teeming with music events worldwide, our aim is to help you navigate through the noise and uncover the most captivating experiences. Join us on this adventure to highlight the backstage stories, memorable moments, and unique elements that make each event one-of-a-kind.
Since the debut of her album Ctrl back in 2017, Solána Rowe, better known as SZA, has taken the world by storm. Her angelic voice and ability to craft soul-touching narratives through her lyrics have earned her an honorable mention as a true luminary in modern music.
Following the release of her sophomore album SOS, SZA announced her first ever arena tour. After impressing fans all over North America with her first seventeen tour stops, she left her audiences eagerly awaiting the announcement of her second round. This time, the SOS Tour would travel to Europe and then make its way back to the United States, totalling in 32 shows.
here’s a few of my favorite frames pic.twitter.com/7TP9XyH3OJ
— Henry Hwu (@henryh31) February 28, 2023
MP3 MAG had the incredible opportunity to attend the Tampa, FL stop, where the magic of the SOS Tour was witnessed first hand. Taking place at Amalie Arena, the concert was held in the heart of downtown Tampa Bay. Fans from all over central Florida traveled to attend, so the line was wrapped around the staircase by 6:30 pm.
To kick the night off, the incredibly talented artist d4vd swept the arena off their feet with his incredible vocals and breathtaking performance. The audience was graced with many of his popular tracks such as “Here With Me,” “Sleep Well,” and “Romantic Homicide.” At the young age of just 18 years old, d4vd recorded the track “Romantic Homicide” entirely on an Iphone, where the song reached number 34 on Billboard Hot 100, and has had many songs go viral on Tiktok. Despite a slightly delayed start that trimmed a few precious minutes from his set, the performance was nothing short of spectacular.
Following a 20 minute intermission, the arena escaped into darkness, where the most beautiful blue clouds appeared before us on the colossal 3 walled LED screen. As the curtain of a wall ascended before our very eyes, SZA was revealed behind it, perched gracefully on a diving board, where she began singing her enchanting unreleased song, “PSA”, setting the stage for a mesmerizing evening of music.
Throughout the performance, SZA effortlessly switched between her albums Ctrl and SOS. From classics such as “Love Galore” and “Broken Clocks,” to her new bangers “Used,” “Kill Bill,” and “Shirt,” her transitions between the two were seamless and created the perfect balance for the show.
During these songs, SZA was joined by her backup dancers, who were perfectly in sync with every beat, drawing attention to their astonishing moves and unique outfits. Whether they were on different levels of the stage props, dancing their hearts out, or behind SZA as she commanded the stage, their presence remained a source of constant visual delight.
— MP3 MAG (@mp3magofficial) September 25, 2023
Two songs that were delivered as an unexpected surprise were, “Kiss Me More” ft. Doja Cat, and “All the Stars” ft. Kendrick Lamar. “Kiss Me More” brought out the fun, girly energy to the crowd that had everyone up and moving, and “All the Stars” brought back pure nostalgia to when the song was first released back in 2018. Given that neither of these tracks originated from her albums, hearing them live was a treat to say the least.
Undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring elements of the show was the stage production. Behind the massive LED wall, revealed a new stage prop three separate times throughout the show. First was a lighthouse that was displayed, with its bright light cutting through the arena’s darkness. Next, a ship appeared in the blink of an eye, further developing the nautical theme of the tour, and lastly an incredibly large anchor that soared around 20 feet tall was placed center stage, for SZA and her dancers to maneuver around.
— MP3 MAG (@mp3magofficial) September 25, 2023
To wrap up the night, SZA made the whole crowd emotional with her beautiful performance of “Good Days,” which was the first single released off of the SOS album. Reemerging atop the diving board, she appeared in the most beautiful and elegant pink gown. With her heart and soul poured into every note, she left the audience spellbound and swaying in harmony. As the song concluded and the LED wall slowly descended back down, the words, “The End” were signed on a backdrop of a thousand stars.
The SOS Tour makes its next stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Tuesday, Sep. 26) and then has 17 more dates slated for the rest of the fall season. If you haven’t made your attempt at the battle with Ticketmaster to get your tickets for this show, you should start now, because this is a performance you won’t want to miss.
Feature photo shot by David Brendan Hall.