The Forum, January 8
The Forum thundered with palpable hysteria, the crowd shaking the floor with stamping feet, hair and nail-whipping an insane reverie under the faux starry ceiling. And that was before the world’s fastest rising musical and movie star, 31-year-old Detroiter Lizzo, took to the stage in a diaphanous sheer purple robe over a neon pink leotard with glittery silver garters.
Surrounded by her all-female ‘big girls’, shaking their asses from start to finish, the flautist-turned-flauntist doubled down on the insane energy storming the room. If you came in thinking that she’d ease you in, the lungs that give Beyoncé a run for running the world smashed out dance-floor stomper Good as Hell from her debut EP Coconut Oil, first up.
The young, pumped crowd lap-danced it up. Keeping the aces flying out her see-through sleeve, the big band bom, bah, bah of Cuz I Love You slammed in second and set the roar soaring. With a clearly thrilled Lizzo lapping it up, Soulmate saw the sea of swaying hands explode when she dropped in a side of Aretha Franklin’s Respect. The honour bestowed on a clear lineage set the tempo for a night equally about acknowledging who went before her as it was about empowering the women who may just take up her torch.
The joy of her body and brain positive outlook on life, at one stage commanding, “when you’re at a Lizzo gig, every motherf—er is a big bitch,” regularly reminds the audience that self-love and determination is way more important than the toxic types determined to drag us down. Slow swing torch song Jerome was the perfect sing-along, with the star noting that December 31, 2019, was the very last day any of us should accept less than we deserve.
If that sounds like guru goop, then it works with a crowd of predominantly young women and gay men, with Lizzo taking time out to big-up the latter. Likewise, when the emotional star relayed her time spent with Wildlife Victoria, clutching a stuffed koala, she announced, “This isn’t just an Australian crisis, this is a global crisis.” You believed her intent to keep on shining a light on the plight of a country she’s dreamed about visiting since she was a kid, with her recent Sydney Opera House gig a dream come true. Just don’t tell Sydneysiders she confessed we’ve got bigger gig energy. A swift but sweeping set, Juice soaked up the storm before making it rain with grand finale Truth Hurts, and Melbourne was there for it.