A recount of British pop star Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia concert could really just be synonyms for ‘feelgood’ strung together with the names of songs so uniformly earwormy that not one, but all of them, whirl around your head afterwards in an indistinguishable swirl.
We already knew Lipa had the tunes. Levitating is one of the modern era’s great disco jams with the kind of age-spanning ubiquity that lifts hearts in sweaty clubs, on preschooler dancefloors, at Mardi Gras and on family road trips alike. Another four singles from Lipa’s 2020 Future Nostalgia record reached platinum single status in Australia, while a fifth (Hallucinate) reached gold.
Bar the pre-schoolers, all of those demographics are here tonight. In Lipa’s only address to the crowd that isn’t variations of “Make some fucking noise Sydney!”, we discover that her final pre-pandemic show was Sydney Mardi Gras in 2020. “It was such a crazy, scary feeling,” she says of what followed.
There are no crazy, scary feelings tonight, or at any of the 88 shows Lipa says she’s played this year. (Not that she’s counting.)
Her show is a euphoria-only zone which provides a different sugar-rush spectacle for each song, aided by dazzling visuals, dancers, glittering costumes, cartwheeling roller-skaters, back-up singers, live drums and guitars.
Sheathed in a deep-blue catsuit and matching opera gloves, Lipa is already deep in the diva moves for the first song, Physical, on her knees with outstretched arms. The 2017 song that shot her slinkily to fame, New Rules, is next, during which her crew twirls holographic umbrellas.
Sets two and three forego polished pop for deep and clubby terrain, as Lipa opts for remixed versions of Boys Will Be Boys and Hallucinate. Though it’s the one-two punch of One Kiss and Electricity when things go genuinely bananas, delivering on some classic hold and drop-the-beat ecstasy, proper club-style.
The set is capped off by Elton John’s face blooming rather goofily onto the screen for their duet, Cold Heart. Lipa and crew unfurl a Gay Pride flag and – in a rare unchoreographed moment – sling their arms across each other’s shoulders group-photo style, throw some heart signs and soak up all those good, good vibes.
Throughout, Lipa’s voice is powerful like it ain’t-no-thang, leaving her free to gyrate, shoulder-shrug, sumo squat, casually sprawl and even do some mighty hair windmilling a la a heavy metal show.
With this many peak moments, it’s the simplest thing that’s also the best, and definitely the night’s spirit animal: the way Lipa struts down the catwalk stage and all the confidence and empowerment it signals.