SZA at BST Hyde Park: A night of magical hits and hiccups

Tonight at BST Hyde Park, SZA, a distinct force in contemporary R&B, delivered a performance that left a lasting impression, despite some notable hiccups. Known for her vulnerable and casually poetic songwriting style, SZA’s voice effortlessly conveys a multitude of emotions with subtle twists and turns. Her rich and complex second album, SOS (2022), went straight to number one on the Billboard 200, producing four Top Ten pop singles, including the chart-topping revenge fantasy “Kill Bill,” and earning the artist three Grammy awards.

SZA (courtesy of Mr Not Blue and Cassidy Meyers)

SZA (Photo courtesy of Mr Not Blue and Cassidy Meyers)

The atmosphere was electric with throngs of happy teenagers, many accompanied by their parents, who seemed less enthused and could be seen yawning throughout the gig. Unfortunately, SZA was 17 minutes late to start, a delay she did not make up for by the end of the show. Adding to the curious setup, the band was hidden behind a caged box on stage, possibly to conceal that they weren’t playing much live music. There was a significant amount of playback singing, as the performance appeared to focus more on dancing than on live vocals.

Despite these elements, SZA’s presence and the energy she brought to the stage resonated deeply with her fans. It was a night where the magic of her music and the joy of live performance shone through, even if it was not a flawless execution. Her raw emotion and powerful voice still managed to captivate the audience, reminding everyone why she’s such a beloved artist in contemporary R&B.

Highlights of the night included performances of her hits from SOS, which had the crowd singing along with every word. The staging, although unconventional with the band hidden away, created a unique visual experience that, coupled with her dance moves, kept the energy high. Her interaction with the crowd was also a highlight, bringing a personal touch to the large venue and making each attendee feel part of something special.

For many of the young fans, it was a night to remember, an experience that encapsulated the spirit of their musical hero. For the parents, it was a chance to see what makes SZA such a phenomenon in today’s music scene, even if it meant a few yawns along the way.

SZA’s concert at BST was a testament to her unique talent and the deep connection she has with her audience. While there were areas that could have been improved, the overall experience was a celebration of her artistry and the joy of live music.


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