In the current oversaturated pop landscape, it’s becoming increasingly hard from some to shine. Everyone’s starting to blend together and sound the same, and we barely know who’s who anymore. And while there is room for everyone, very few are actively trying to make themselves stand out. But then again, not everyone has Ariana Grande’s voice. I’d find it hard to stand out if I was competing with her voice, too. While she has been in the game for years now, since the release of her third studio album, Dangerous Woman, in 2016, Grande has taken herself from former Nickelodeon star with a few good songs, to a true pop tour-de-force — and that was on full display at the Atlanta stop of her Dangerous Woman Tour, Wednesday night.
Victoria Monet, and British girl group Little Mix opened the show (which my friend made me FaceTime her to see. I’m a good friend.) Little Mix in particular were very impressive, giving off Spice Girl vibes singing hits like “Salute,” “Touch,” “Black Magic,” and “Shout Out To My Ex.” After a ten-minute countdown, Grande took the stage, iconic ponytail in tow, to “Be Alright,” which included a voguing section mid performance that would have impressed even Madonna herself.
While the show was overall incredible, due in part to her vocals, the setlist was a little clunky. It wasn’t what she sang, it was the order in which she sang them. Following “Be Alright,” she swiftly sailed through an impressive first act with some of the best cuts from Dangerous Woman like “Everyday,” “Bad Decisions,” “Knew Better/Forever Boy,” “Let Me Love You,” “Touch It,” and “Side to Side.” “One Last Time,” in particular, was one of her best vocal moments of the night. The second half of the show is where it started to lag a little bit as she led into some of her ballads like “I Don’t Care,” and “Moonlight,” which, while being amazing songs and incredible vocal moments, brought down the mood in the audience. “Break Free” and “Problem” were also rearranged somewhat, which was a little confusing to those use to the original arrangements. She closed the show with the mega hit (and best pop song on 2016, fight me) “Into You,” and after leaving the stage for a brief moment, returned giving “Dangerous Woman” as an encore dressed in a floor-length black leather gown, smoke and pyrotechnics surrounding her. It was one of the strongest closers to a show I’ve seen in awhile.
The show pushes her in a bolder direction, but doesn’t alienate her audience. She didn’t result to gimmicks or over-sexualizing herself. Her voice bridged even the weaker parts of her show, as she put it front and center. Dangerous Woman was the first time a lot of people started to really take her seriously as an artist, and the Dangerous Woman Tour only increases that footprint with an impressive showcase of growth, professionalism and pure and undeniable talent.