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Gig Review: Dua Lipa at Motorpoint Arena

27 April 22 words: George White
photos: Shirlaine Forrest

After a decent pandemic-induced delay, Dua Lipa is finally on her planet-spanning Future Nostalgia tour - bringing her award-winning talent to Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena...

Three UK number ones. Twelve top ten hits. 333 weeks in the top forty. 66,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify… You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s having a bigger moment in music right now than Dua Lipa. And, almost two years later than planned, she finally got the chance to perform the award-winning tunes from her latest record, Future Nostalgia, for us Notts lot - and it was undoubtedly worth the wait. 

As an album title, Future Nostalgia feels remarkably apt. An anthem-filled record shaped by old-school influences including dance-pop and disco, but with a fresh, modern twist, the 2020 release feels both groundbreaking and a welcome throwback to a bygone era. 

From the eighties-inspired, power pop playfulness of Physical to the audacious, TikTok-conquering catchiness of Don’t Start Now, this is a record designed to raise spirits and get people dancing - one ultimately released at the perfect time, offering a source of optimism and joy at the height of the drab, demoralising pandemic. So, surely it provides a brilliant basis for a globe-spanning, sell-out arena tour, right?

By the time Lipa starts head-banging furiously in her penultimate performance, the crowd is in full party mode

Well, in a not so shocking turn of events, yes, yes it is. Lipa’s tracklist is so daring, so full of memorable numbers, that it feels made for events like this. Where some artists have a single headline hit, one cherished tune that the crowd are itching for the set to get to, almost every song in the 26-year-old’s setlist could be the climactic highlight of the night. The fact that Physical, a high-octane dancefloor-filler, is only used to kick off the night demonstrates the depth of her talent - and things only ramp up from there.

With four outfit changes, creative choreography, and a stage that begins levitating for the performance of, you guessed it, Levitating, this is the type of bold, innovative and confident show that only a popstar at the very height of their powers could pull off - and Lipa does so with remarkable self-assuredness. By the time the Londoner starts head-banging furiously to the sounds of Future Nostalgia in her penultimate performance, the crowd is in full party mode, cheering every dance move and singing along to every word with all the uplifting relief of dedicated superfans who have waited far too long to see their idol live. 

It may have taken two years for Dua Lipa to grace our city once again but what way to make up for lost time

This fun, frenetic show follows a magnificent supporting appearance from Griff, the BBC Radio 1 regular of Black Hole and Head On Fire fame. While offering a more stripped-back set than the headliner, there is a similar joyousness to her performance - she bounces around the stage with an infectious energy that instantly gets the audience moving, winning them over from the very first moment. Recently named as the Brit Awards’ Rising Star, and with a top five album already under her belt, you can expect the 21-year-old to be headlining her own arena tour very soon. 

It may have taken two years for Dua Lipa to grace our city once again - after previous visits to Stealth and the Rescue Rooms - but what way to make up for lost time. Boasting phenomenal tunes, imaginative production design, and contagiously confident performances, this is the work of a superstar at the very top of her game. You’d bet your house on her staying there for a long time to come. 

dualipa.com

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