Boston Calling: Lizzo Sets Fire to the Stage

By: Alex LaRosa

Lizzo 3

Lizzo performing on stage at Boston Calling 2016. Photo by Ross Ketschke

As a 91-degree sun beat down on City Hall Plaza, Minnesota-based rapper Lizzo turned up the heat even more, bouncing around the JetBlue Stage in an electrifying midday performance. The second main-stage act for this afternoon, she gathered a respectable crowd by the end of her 11-song set, which celebrated Boston, empowerment, and a relentlessly positive vibe.

The set started with only her DJ on stage, who fired up a beat and then dropped the bass before Lizzo herself entered from the right. Accompanied by two backup dancers who were dressed exceptionally light for the blazing weather, the trio danced around the stage for the whole show.

Consistently shouting out causes and people that she loved, Lizzo took a moment to celebrate the life of the late Prince, and then jumped right back into the bouncing beats. “We gon’ have ourselves a good time, keep your hands up!” she shouted to the crowd before a crushing wave of bass ripped through the air. Her positivity was surely the main focus of her performance, as she took several opportunities to celebrate a body-positive theme. “Twerking” in unison with her backup dancers, she reminded the crowd to “love yourself first like no one else can.”

Lizzo 2

Lizzo performing at Boston Calling spring 2016. Photo by Ross Ketschke

As a couple of beach balls floated across the audience, she took a moment to deliver “a public service announcement.” As she said, quite forcefully, “keep your phone in your pocket!”

But Lizzo’s show wasn’t all just booty shaking and beat dropping. She also demonstrated a decent singing range, including a crisp falsetto at the end of her song “Humanize.” But in her typical style for the afternoon, the musical theme quickly changed and she was once again building intensity back up.

Near the end of the show, she decided to celebrate her womanhood with quick covers of Rihanna’s “Work.” After shouting out her backup dancers, Grace and Jessica, she asked, “Where my sassy ladies at?” About half the audience erupted, and then Lizzo broke into a wildly vulgar party tune about women.

As time wound down, she sang a few more songs, including one emotive ballad about her racial identity. Finally, as the heat reached its peak, true to form, Lizzo shouted, “it’s hot as {expletive}” and thanked her audience before departing in a confident strut.

Uncommon Newsletter

Music reviews, ticket giveaways, live performances & member specials.

Sign Up

We'll never sell your email, be boring or try to sell you on bad music.

in studio performances