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A Review of SZA’s Show at Barclays Center

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

As October 2023 brings with it cooler weather, changing leaves, and everything pumpkin spice, this month also marks the close of the second leg of Solàna Rowe’s — better known as SZA —  wildly successful SOS tour. Following her sophomore album, SOS, this tour has taken SZA all over the world and grossed more than $34.5 million. I was lucky enough to get tickets to her second show of this leg at Barclays Center, and it made for an unforgettable night of singing, dancing, and catharsis. 

Being in attendance at one of her Brooklyn shows made for a really intimate experience. She confided in us right before singing “Nobody Gets Me”: “We’re gonna sing this next one. It’s about my ex-fiancé who still blocked me on everything and will not talk to me. He’s from Bedford-Stuyvesant, and his father is here. So, we’re gonna sing it for him.” During “Nobody Gets Me,” she connected with the audience in the upper bowl in a really awesome way, serenading us from an inflatable lifeboat that was hoisted about fifty feet in the air. I love the narrative that being ghosted by your ex-fiancé leaves you in an incredibly vulnerable place where you’re as unprotected as somebody drifting out to sea all alone.

For me, the most memorable part of SZA’s set was the liquid-activated neon dress she wore during “The Weekend.” She began the song by pouring a bottle of unknown liquid on herself as she danced on stage. As soon as the liquid from the bottle reacted with her dress, she started dripping in a stunning shade of neon blue. I dare say that SZA, in all her bioluminescent glory, rivaled Bella Hadid’s viral spray-on dress from Coperni’s Spring Summer 2023 show at Paris Fashion Week. I was so intrigued by her dress that I did some sleuthing on Instagram, and found the account of the chemist she worked with to create this pour-on-glow effect: @rick_braukis. In true SZA style, she kept it real with her fans about this chemistry experiment. She took to her Instagram story to say, “Lmao before u copy this pls know there’s hydrogen peroxide in the glow stuff and U will burn ur coochie.” I really hope that they have perfected their formula by now, but I applaud her sacrifice to give us this jaw-dropping display. 

Unfortunately, I left Barclays Center with an itch that hadn’t been scratched; I so badly wanted to hear a full version of “Open Arms.” Others on TikTok shared this sentiment, stating how badly they hoped she would play the song. She made up for it, though, with her epic set design. At first glance, her stage appeared unassuming, and not as interactive as the Eras Tour stage, for example, that juts out into the crowd in a diamond formation. But I quickly realized that the stage was a big part of the show; it acted as a massive screen, displaying super sharp moving images like rough waves and clouds. Watching the stage made me feel like I was in the middle of the ocean. 

SZA hit the sweet spot with the length of her set, and “Good Days” was the perfect encore, almost like the calm after the storm. I think I speak for the whole crowd when I say, this encore left us all feeling happy that this concert happened, as opposed to sad that it was over. The magic that SZA was able to create for all of us that night proves that she is much more than just an “ordinary girl.”

Tiffany Ling is a member of Her Campus at Pace University! She loves to write, and is also a contributor for Pace’s Honors Herald. Outside of Her Campus, Tiffany works for the New York Public Library, and Darien Library in Connecticut, as a library page and technology assistant. From library science, to behavioral neuroscience, Tiffany has a lot of academic interests. In her spare time, Tiffany also does freelance technology work for Darien Public Schools. She plans to continue doing so throughout the school year. Some of Tiffany’s personal interests include reading, swimming, and spending time with her dog, Bindi. One of her favorite authors is Agatha Christie, but she’s currently reading Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel García Márquez. Since starting school, she’s been missing her dog a lot; lucky for her, Boris and Horton is only two stops away on the subway.