Lizzo, the Peoples’ Pop Diva, Dazzles Moody Center

“I want you to know I see you”

Photo by David Brendan Hall

At this point in her career, Lizzo is a veritable icon, on par both in popularity and performance with pop music’s most prominent divas. But where so many others unfalteringly embrace their position atop a pedestal erected by their fanatic followers, Lizzo, more often than not, intentionally steps off of hers onto a level playing field with fans.

“I’ve been to concerts before and I felt the artists couldn’t see me because they were way up at the top, and I want you to know I see you,” said the 34-year-old rapper/singer toward the beginning of her two-hour tour de force on Tuesday night at the Moody Center, the first of three Texas stops on her globe-spanning Special Tour.

Framed by eight backup dancers (the Big Grrrls), an ace all-women band (the Lizzbians, also the moniker for her hardcore fans), and a dazzling stage production, she made good on that promise. Throughout the 26-song set, the star frequently paused to pump up the sellout crowd with ultra-positive feedback. The most impactful among those moments came near the end.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

In a fitting segue to “I Love You Bitch,” Lizzo stopped for about 10 minutes to shout out dozens of fans, complimenting each one personally on their outfits and energy – a rare, humbling move for a star of her stature.

A consistent push toward self-love threaded throughout her performance. The epic twerk-offs during “Soulmate” and “Tempo” signaled her commitment to upholding body positivity, as did an array of epic projections over her nude-colored bodysuit during “Naked,” which she belted out from the end of the stage’s circular runway. An animated flute solo during “Coldplay” promoted the strength of unabashed goofiness.

Mind-blowing vocal stretches on Cardi B collab “Rumors,” the ever-so-Prince-inspired “Jerome,” and show-stopping hit “Cuz I Love You” likewise represented Lizzo’s achievement of arena-commanding diva status by consistently pushing the limits of her artistry and abilities. She’s long embodied that mode, rising from a 14-show-per-week South by Southwest warrior to a performer who rivals the likes of Beyoncé and Whitney Houston (who she paid tribute to with a cover of “I’m Every Woman”) in less than a decade.

Lizzo shared the spotlight several more times throughout the show: inviting a lucky birthday-celebrating audience member to dance onstage (and take a selfie) during “Birthday Girl,” and praising a front-row fan for writing her senior thesis on “fat liberation” before launching into main-set-closing superhit “Good As Hell.”

“I’m a fat Black girl from Houston,” she quipped, solidifying solidarity with her fellow Texans. “Before I was coming to SXSW, I was just a thot… Thank you so much for lifting me up, and I hope I’ve done the same for you.”

The crowd’s deafening, thunderous cheering unanimously confirmed that she’d achieved her goal of audience uplift. In a world where bloated egos largely reign among cultural figures, and especially in creative industries, Lizzo’s welcoming artistry is a genuine gift – a reminder that embracing one’s own authenticity provides the most substantial measure of success.

Photo by David Brendan Hall
Photo by David Brendan Hall

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Lizzo, Moody Center

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