Ariana Grande asserts herself by acting choose she doesn’t have actually to. She Dangerous woman Tour, which concerned Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, is a show of confidence, prowess and aplomb. “Nothing to prove and/I’m bulletproof and/know what ns doing,” she sang in “Dangerous Woman,” the title tune of she 2016 album and also the concert’s bluesy finale. The concert was full of songs about a young woman’s needs and also prerogatives, largely lusty ones, yielded with peppy choruses and without shock value or shame. Ms. Grande often sings about the overwhelming strength of temptation and also how lot pleasure there is in giving in.
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Onstage, Ms. Grande, a previous child star who got national exposure on Nickelodeon, flaunts professionalism, no skin or profanities (though she sings a handful). Like other million-selling hitmakers, she works with on songwriting v pop’s clique of continual Top 10 producers and songwriters; the common Max Martin had a hand in many of the “Dangerous Woman” album, which dominated the collection list. The music paint, etc R&B, four-on-the-floor dance grooves, reggae and also rock right into its pop packages. It also features guests like the rappers Nicki Minaj and Future, who both verified up ~ above the video screen behind Ms. Grande.
Her agile soprano was strong and unconcealed in every song, borrowing some flourishes indigenous Mariah Carey and also Beyoncé and also applying them through strategic poise. She voice sailed out end the arena-wide singalongs. Back Ms. Grande delivered a few ballads if seated, for many of the present she remained in choreographed motion, cantering around a vast stage and down a lengthy runway in towering, stiletto-heeled communication boots. She had up come 10 dancers joining her, and hydraulic pedestals to rise upon, in tableaux that were full of camaraderie and playfulness, not command and also control. She waist-length ponytail was, as always, perfectly behaved.
There to be flames, smoke, lasers and balloons — pink ones — in ~ Ms. Grande’s disposal as well, however the concert came across as reasonably unadorned. Often, that was just Ms. Grande, v or there is no dancers, on the bare white stage. Even her tape was surprise by a white backdrop until halfway v her set. Instead of scenic spectacle, the showmanship come from Ms. Grande’s voice: the torchy longing in “Touch It,” the whispery afterglow of “Let Me Love You,” the trumpeting braggadocio in “Bang Bang,” the retro breathiness of “Moonlight,” the melismatic triumph in “Break Free.”
Ms. Grande no speak much. When she did, however, it to be to tell she audience, “It can seem to it is in a scary time to be yourself” and to insist, “You’re beautiful and also your differences are beautiful.” She sang “Thinking Bout You,” a lonely love song; behind her, the video clip screen proved silhouettes that couples, embracing in various gender combinations. It was the day after the White home revoked accuse protecting transgender students for using toilets of their choice.
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Then Ms. Grande brought out the concert’s opened act, Victoria Monét, who has written numerous songs v her. (The various other opening act, little Mix, is a four-woman group that winner Britain’s reality present “The X Factor,” and also has a hit through the booming, belittling kiss-off “Shout the end to mine Ex.”) Ms. Monét and Ms. Grande sang Ms. Monét’s “Better Days,” a track they taped together that asks, “So how we gonna stop the violence, prevent the hurting?/Stop the hatred, avoid the murder.”
Ms. Grande also showed a short but pointed video clip clip during a costume change, with pictures of herself in sultry poses v all-caps adjectives superimposed, Jenny Holzer-style: “wild,” “free,” “soulful,” “raw,” “divine,” “gentle,” “ferocious,” “sexual,” “sensual” and, repeatedly, “not questioning for it,” ending with “FEMALE.” Empowerment takes many forms, some in stilettos.