Dua Lipa delivers a fiery but predictable set at the O2 Academy

11 October

Dua Lipa, a current smash in the music industry, plays a gig in Glasgow as a part of her Untitled Tour. The O2 Academy is packed with dedicated fans, mostly teenagers wearing Dua Lipa’s t-shirts and masks, forming an enormous queue even a couple of hours before the show. This crazy, youthful crowd is the best proof of the vocalist’s overwhelming popularity.

However, before their London-born idol with Albanian roots turns up, the audience has a great time during the support act – Off Bloom, an Anglo-Danish trio of producers, who deliver a fierce, groovy and energetic performance.

The vocalist, Mette Mortensen is reminiscent of Dua Lipa in terms of both vocal and fashion style – to the extent that they both wear the same white flare pants, trimmed with a silver chain – as well as the electrifying dance moves. Off Bloom sounds like an electronic, dirty version of Dua Lipa’s music – probably the reason why the audience reacts so enthusiastically. Also, Mortensen has a great, genuine contact with the crowd and knows how to be a true frontwoman.

The happy members of Off Bloom leave the stage after taking a picture with the crowd, the lights go off, a huge, backlit screen comes up in the background which is somehow reminiscent of the openings of The Weeknd’s show and eventually, Dua Lipa walks – or rather, runs – onto the stage singing one of her singles ‘Hotter Than Hell’.
Supported by three undeniably dedicated musicians, hidden in her shadow, she delivers a one-hour show consisting of all of her hits.

Certainly, the fans aren’t disappointed as they get a chance to hear their favourite songs such as ‘Blow Your Mind (Mwah)’ or ‘Be The One’ and sing every single word together with their idol. However, does the show explain Dua Lipa’s phenomenon and answer the question about where her popularity comes from?

One thing is certain, Dua Lipa can sing. Her low-pitched, deep, thick voice is strong, confident and absolutely powerful. She sounds as good as, or even better than, on her records. She reaches the climax during the performance of her collab single with Martin Garrix – ‘Scared To Be Lonely’. Although the song is technically challenging, her voice doesn’t shake even for a second. Moreover, she seems to be born to perform. She owns the stage as a true diva of the popular musical trend – ‘girlpower’ music, a pop version of feminism. A fabulous, self-confident, young, successful, ambitious woman who encourages her fans to always put themselves first. Not surprisingly, she must be a role model for her young listeners as she herself shines with self-confidence.

Undoubtedly, she’s a true fan of herself – the screen behind her displays fabulous, constantly changing photos and shots of her which creates a dynamic ambiance and enhances the pace of the show. There’s also a statement on the screen that turns up before ‘IDGAF’: “This is a song for all the fuckboys who have done you wrong. If you would like to participate in the next activity please put your middle fingers up.” A huge applause and an eager participation in the aforementioned activity prove that the young fans share the artist’s life philosophy.

On the other hand, however, despite the undeniable flow of energy, the gig seems to be quite regular. Dua Lipa does her job and she does it very well – but nothing more than this. She doesn’t really get involved in contact with the audience other than screaming out clichéed sentences such as “Glasgow, how are you doing?” or “Thank you, I love you guys so much!”

Even the fiery encore, during which the artist sings “Be The One” in a duet with the audience and encourages the fans to get down and then jump high during her best hit “New Rules”, seems to be planned and well-thought-out from the start until the very end. Dua Lipa’s professionalism can’t be denied but she lacks authenticity. Her live performance confirms that she’s a perfectly made, beautifully packed, product but at the same time, it questions her position as an artist.

So maybe, it is enough to look, sing and dance impeccably to become a phenomenon in the music business. At the end of the day, however, it’s worth remembering that she’s only 22. She still has some time to become a complete artist.

IMAGE: Anjelica Barbe, Purple PR

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