SZA takes Ctrl of American Airlines Center


Photo courtesy Prateek Malkoti

SZA performed at the American Airlines Center on March 10 in a stop on her S.O.S world tour. Performing songs from her 2017 album Ctrl as well as the latest released S.O.S, SZA kept her audience engaged.

Angelina Liu, Executive Editor-in-Chief

DALLAS – A lighthouse beams brightly and makes circles around the arena, casting light on concertgoers. A golden, warm light illuminates Solana Imani Rowe (SZA) in white robes, dark blue lasers creating the illusions of frothy, dangerous seawater. 

She sits suspended on a black and red inflatable lifeboat, swaying near the high vaulted ceilings of American Airlines Center, serenading with the relatable lyrics of “Supermodel” to the sold out arena below. 

Opening with the unreleased “PSA,” the audience’s first experience with the S.O.S tour is  visually similar to the album cover: SZA’s legs dangling from a plank, sitting above a vast expanse of deep water. SZA then jumps off the plank and into the water, with dramatic movie-style credits introducing her and the show. 

Launching into songs from her 2017 album CTRL, the nostalgia of “Broken Clocks”, “Love Galore”, “Prom” and “Garden” gripped the arena as echoes of the audience singing along reverberated. 

After a costume change, a screen was lifted onstage to reveal a ship. Neatly choreographed, the show aimed to detail the story of a shipwreck. which was the idea behind the concept album S.O.S released on Dec. 9. 

Utilizing the ship as a metaphor for troubles in her own life, SZA symbolizes danger and uncertainty by casting violent flashes of red, white and eventually eerie green onto the arena. The ocean thrashes the ship as she sings the lyrics of “Low,” everyone in my section knowing every single word. 

As a result of the intensity of the performance, the ship cracks in half and sinks into the water. SZA is then lifted onto a lifeboat, performing “Special” and “Nobody Gets Me” while floating through the arena and tossing white petals to concertgoers underneath. 

After being brought back to the stage, she continues the breathtaking performance in front of dazzling underwater scenes complete with floating jellyfish and underwater caves. 

Nearly two hours later, SZA ended the performance on a high, hopeful note with the five-minute track “Good Days” paired with a pink and yellow sunset backdrop. 

Prior to the SZA’s set, Omar Apollo opened and performed some of his hits such as “Evergreen” and “Go Away.” Although on the shorter side, I enjoyed the positive and soulful set. 

From the theatrical beginning of the show to the fairytale ending, I was continuously engaged. Although I would have loved to stay for more, the ending was perfect and I wasn’t let wanting more. 

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