For some time, SZA has been on a long road of having her style of music accepted by the masses. That long road seems to have led her to this grand destination called Ctrl, her debut studio album. From being the first act to open at Lollapalooza in 2015 to now having multi-platinum singles and a successful tour, SZA is the true definition of determination.After selling out her first CTRL Tour stop back in August, the first lady of TDE (Top Dawg Ent) made her return to the Windy City for another unforgettable sold-out night filled with jams and good vibes.
Fans from all over packed into the Concord Music Hall as Chicago native, DJ Finesse, opened with a slew of 90’s hits that included The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. What would a DJ set in Chicago be without Kanye West’s “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” and Chief Keef’s “Fineto”. It’s a given that those two songs will get the people involved. Finesse kept the party going with a mix of new and old school that saw the crowd engaged throughout.
As stage rearrangements began to take place, the crowd erupted in cheers when the CTRL set pieces were unveiled. Not to long after, the woman of the hour, SZA, emerged from backstage with a drink in hand and went straight into Supermodel.
The intensity displayed by SZA during the first song really set the tone for the rest of the show. Before continuing, SZA spoke to the audience to inform those all in attendance that she was indeed suffering with a case of bronchitis. This may have been the case, but this didn’t affect the multi Grammy nominated artist from delivering an electric hour set.
Accompanied by a live band, SZA performed majority of Ctrl, but also included some classic gems, such as Hijack and Child’s Play from her 2014 EP titled Z.
The soft-spoken singer would take a few moments to speak and interact with the crowd. Fans began handing SZA many gifts, which she was very grateful to receive and even commented “Chicago has some great shit”. Smiling throughout her performance, SZA would give a short backstory narrative for certain tracks – such as for Normal Girl and Doves.
The Chicago audience was even treated to an amazing performance of Love Galore, that included the yet to be released verse that was first heard on SZA’s Instagram a few months back, then officially performed for the first time on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago. For it to be unreleased verse, the crowd was right there singing word for word. One would think an official studio version is on its way. The night came to an end with a sensational performance of The Weekend, which is being nominated for a Grammy in the category for “Best R&B Performance”.
SZA’s unrivaled flare and affectionate voice was on full display from start to finish, this incredible performance was only a small part of what has been an explosive year for the singer. Heading into 2018, SZA is no longer the “next one up” – she’s the one to watch.
Check out photos from SZA’s Ctrl Tour stop in Chicago
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