Lizzo – Lanxess Arena, Cologne; February 27th, 2023
I knew seeing Lizzo live would be brilliant and fun and wholesome. what I hadn’t counted on was the show being so emotional. It was a beautiful night in Cologne and I’m glad I got to be part of it.
Remembering the great show back in 2019, I had immediately grabbed a ticket for this one. Now it was finally time to go see it and I made my way to Cologne. arrived, got a wristband for the golden circle, stood in line and was surprised that the doors opened 30 minutes earlier than announced. No complaints here, it as nice to get out of the cold. Once inside I scored a perfect spot, front row at the catwalk, right on the side of he platform – wow! I had not expected I was going to be that close. 😀
Around 7:30 DJ Sophia Eris did a little set for us, getting us warmed up for the show. She’s been Lizzo’s DJ for ten years and I can see why. she had a fun mixture of songs that most people could sing along to and even ventured out on the catwalk to sing to us. A great start.
Shortly after she had left, Bree Runway hit the stage and kept up the good vibes. We cheered for her and sang along at her instructions. It was fun watching her and her music was a good fit for Lizzo. She told us she had a cold, but we gave her good energy to forget about that. 🙂
To have a song that everyone would know to sing to Bree covered ‘Paparazzi’. I’m sure we did her proud. She also got a call and response going “I say Bree, you say Runway” and promised to shake her ass towards whoever yelled loudest. 😀 All in all it was the perfect warm up.
ATM (BREEMIX/SOLO VERSION) (Solo)
Paparazzi (Lady Gaga cover)
Eventually, the arena went dark, music started and everyone was screaming with excitement. This was the moment we had all been waiting for. As lights on the screens started flashing rhythmically, we heard Lizzo’s voice “These are songs about love… I really believe that love for oneself and for others is what this world needs to be a better place… give yourself a little bit of love every day, treat yourself with respect… and then treat somebody else with the same respect… the experience … grows”. The stage lit up and Lizzo came up from the center in a fabulous, sparkling blue outfit, singing ‘The Sign’ and so many people sang along o all the words. It was beautiful. For ‘2 B loved (Am I ready)’ the big girls joined her. I watched them dance and a huge smile spread across my face.
There was so much love in the room and when she greeted us with “Welcome to the special tour”, introducing her band and the big girls, everyone cheered loudly. She asked us to say “Boom shaka lakka” and on the second try it worked. She loved the accent. At her request we helped her with the next song, singing “Im the one, I’m the one” and after being reassured that we were ready to dance too she sang ‘Soulmate’ for us.
Lizzo disappeared from the stage for a moment only to reappear to the tune of ‘Phone’ with an enormous purse, handing it to one of the big girls “, then she dug threw it, pulled a tiny purse out and launched into ‘Grrrls’ with “Hold my bag bitch”. We answered “Woo-hoo” to “Where my girls at?” and they continued straight into ‘Boys’. In the end she had us all jump up and down. 😀
Whenever I looked around people seemed so happy and I don’t know how to describe the atmosphere in the room other than one of warmth and kindness. The whole night I felt as if someone was giving me a good hug. The band and the dancers were brilliant, the screens served to enhance the show with either bringing them closer or displaying images in tune with the songs. My vantage point was perfect to see everything and I lost myself in he music.
‘Tempo’ started with a rocking guitar riff and awesome photos on the big screen. The song included lots of twerking – it was so much fun watching her and the big girls dance. I can’t remember when they first ventured out on the catwalk and to the platform, but I raised my hands with everyone else when they did. seeing them right in front of me was amazing.
For ‘Rumors’ the screen in the background filled with scrolling WhatsApp massages containing some wild rumors. It ended in a dead battery symbol and the arena went dark. ‘Scuse me’ stated with laser lights and Lizzo standing with her back to us, looking at her image on the screen, singing ‘Look up in the mirror, oh my God, it’s me’. With ‘Fitness’ we had only the band on stage and saw images of different exercises on the screen. Great stuff. At some point she told us that we were all big girls now, became them the moment we entered the arena, so when she was asking “Where are my big girls?” she meant all of us. Yeah!
Once again, she rose up from below stage, in a new fabulous outfit with a long flowing gown. she asked if it was OK for her to come a little closer and slowly walked out to the platform, singing the first lines of the beautiful ‘Naked’. Once she had reached the platform, she dropped the gown and stood in darkness with light projections playing across her body. Many people in the audience turned on their phone lights, filling the arena with stars. The song ended with the words “My body, my choice” projected on her.
“This is the part of the show I call therapy,” she said and instructed us to wave our phone lights “this light represents the love you have for yourself”. She put her gown back on, lounging on a sofa that had mysteriously appeared behind her while no-one was looking. She sang to ‘Jerome’ to take his ass home. 😀 As she walked back up to the main stage I realized the fabulous gown had leopard print. <3 She was joined by Sophia Eris for ‘Doo wop’. While Lizzo hurried backstage. Sophia continued the song and gave it over to the fabulous background singers in the band.
Lizzo appeared on the big screen again, saying “I love you, you are beautiful and you can do anything. Say it loud!” we did and then repeated it to ourselves with our eyes closed as instructed. “In case nobody told you today – you’re special!” and with these words she was back in a gorgeous rainbow dress for ‘Special’. In a moment she had us all waving her arms along with the music and by the end we were clapping along. The camera zoomed in on her and we could see she was crying. She told us that she wasn’t feeling well, but didn’t want to cancel the show, thanking us for the support and cheering that made her feel special. Yes you are! This moved me to tears and I wanted to give her a hug. Later she said that as she stood there she realized she did not have to be perfect, she just had to be herself. Word!
The show continued with ‘I’m every woman’ into ‘Like a girl’ and the big girls were back. For ‘Birthday Girl’ she asked if here were any birthdays in the building and wished them a happy birthday. Together with the big girls she was back on the platform for a while. She chatted with us, mentioning she’d been to the chocolate museum and then asked for different words in German before going into ‘Everybody’s gay’. ‘Water me’ followed with cool projections on the screen again. The light and screen show was amazing throughout.
During ‘Cuz I love you’ Lizzo came out to the platform again and someone threw her a rainbow flag that she draped across her shoulders. She didn’t manage the final note, mentioned “I cannot hit that note tonight, bitch, but once again the queer community has my back” and everyone sang with her. She asked for our phone lights again and got them all the way through ‘If you love me’. In the end, all the big girls handed her a rose each and she promptly gave them to her fans. someone by my side just didn’t catch it. She kept the last one for ‘Coldplay’ and threw it to one guy near the platform. He hugged it and looked so happy I thought he might faint. It was the cutest thing. The song ended with her playing the flute. <3
Before ‘Truth Hurts’ she asked the audience what the German word for “Bitch” is and after learning it concluded that today then she was “100% that Schlampe”. She wanted everyone to sing along and we did. Funnily enough I only knew the words because I had just attempted to play the song on ukulele. It was so much fun! All the big girls were twerking and Lizzo even played the flute while doing it. 😀
‘I love you Bitch’ had the whole screen full of flowers and ‘Good as hell’ ended the main set. Were we ready to feel that good? For sure. 😀 She waved goodbye and walked of stage, while the arena went dark. Then she appeared on the big screen again, asking “Did that bitch leave? Wait! I’m gonna get her.” only to realize she was trapped by the screen’s frame. “Help!” It was really funny.
The big disco ball above the platform lit up and she was back for ‘Juice’. I think it was after the song that she talked to the audience at length, but it might have been before the encore. Either way, the arena was lit up and Lizzo looked at people everywhere, talking to specific ones. “I see you, swinging that glitter jacket”, “I see you sailor moon” “You think I#m not talking to you, but I am”. It was really lovely. One woman and one man started twerking towards her to everyone’s amusement and when she asked a woman from the US if she’d come for the show, Lizzo told her to lie and say yes so she did. I also loved the banners I saw, my favorite being “Thank you for teaching me to love myself” :’) It was warm and beautiful and heartfelt. <3
The lights went off again and ‘About damn time’ was the final song and had everyone dancing and singing and cheering for the final time. What an amazing show that was. Lizzo waved goodbye as she left and I needed a moment to collect myself before I was ready to leave. I will sure carry that beautiful feeling with me for some time.
2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)
Break Up Twice
Doo Wop (That Thing) (Lauryn Hill cover)
I’m Every Woman (Chaka Khan cover)
Like a Girl
Birthday Girl/Happy Birthday
Cuz I Love You
If You Love Me
I Love You Bitch
Good as Hell
About Damn Time