On Friday, Nov. 27, Dua Lipa hosted her star-studded disco-dreamland livestream event: Studio 2054. Featuring performances of several songs off of her latest release, Future Nostalgia, and many of her recent collaborations, the virtual concert was unforgettable to say the least.
As soon as “Don’t Start Now” dropped (conveniently the night before my biochem midterm) last year in November, I knew Future Nostalgia was going to be a career highlight for Dua, but I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of its success. Studio 2054’s 5 million viewers are just one testament to the popularity of this album, one that has provided a much needed dance escape in the midst of quarantine.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 social restrictions, live music has been on hold for the majority of the year and I, like many others, was really looking forward to some kind of tour for Future Nostalgia. It’s one of those rare albums that is so in line with the zeitgeist that to miss out on the experiences associated with it would be the regret of a lifetime. Thankfully there hasn’t been much to miss out on, and Studio 2054 provided the perfect opportunity to see Future Nostalgia brought to life in a virtual capacity while we patiently wait for the world to get back to normal.
Staged across six different sets with just as many costume changes, there are no pauses in the nonstop neon fever dream that is Studio 2054. The scene opens with Dua at the center of a flurry of dancers for performances of “Future Nostalgia”, “Levitating” (my personal favourite track off the album), and “Pretty Please” before a set change.
After a high-energy performance of “Break My Heart” in a tunnel of light-up hoops, Dua breaks away from her group of dancers for a duet with FKA Twigs of a currently unreleased track. Following yet another set change, we’re presented with Club Future Nostalgia, an ode to Future Nostalgia in a light-up, neon roller derby of a nightclub. Here, Dua teams up with DJ Blessed Madonna for live renditions of “Physical”, the Zach Witness Remix of “Boys Will Be Boys”, and “Cool”.
Saying goodbye to the club set, we now find ourselves in a new portion of the Studio 2054 warehouse for a performance of one of Dua’s earlier hits, “New Rules”, with a new Future Nostalgia twist. Leaving the warehouse behind, Dua then opens a door into an apartment set for the next portion of the setlist, which features several of her recent collaborations. With virtual appearances from Miley Cyrus for “Prisoner” and J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Tainy for “Una Día”, it seems the show can’t get any more exciting. That is, until Dua brings out live collaborator Angèle for the first ever performance of their hit, “Fever”.
The next leg of the show brings us to an underground club for a rave-themed mini setlist featuring Calvin Harris collaboration “One Kiss”, an appearance by Kylie Minogue for a duet of her song “Real Groove” from her new album Disco, and “Electricity”, a dancehall track with the Diplo and Mark Ronson duo, Silk City.
The beginning of the end is marked by a virtual performance of “Rocket Man” by Elton John before Dua brings out a dance crew in stunning blacks, whites, and sequins for an encore featuring “Hallucinate” and the song that kicked it all off, “Don’t Start Now”. The show ends with a very appropriately-timed confetti rainfall and a quick revisit of all the sets before Dua gathers everyone back where the show began and says goodbye to her viewers.
Overall, the show was a very bright (star)light in an otherwise dark year and breathed new life into an already spectacular juggernaut of an album, Future Nostalgia. For fans of Dua Lipa like myself, it was everything you could’ve asked for and more. The space-themed disco party that the visual direction of the album suggests is definitely done justice. Moreover, the live renditions of the songs, some of which were performed for the very first time during the livestream, only build excitement for a future tour. For those casual viewers who may not have listened to Dua very much prior to the event, it is the best introduction you could hope for to a star of her magnitude.
To hear Dua’s Studio 2054 setlist, check out the Spotify playlist that I’ve made, and keep an eye on Dua’s social media, where she may post more pictures and clips from the night!
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