Ariana Grande took to the stage in the 3 Arena on Monday, September 23rd and proved that she really is the new queen of pop, pulling off a show-stopping performance. This was the second of her three sold out Dublin performances on her Sweetener World Tour.
Grande showcased her angelic voice while keeping up with her team of professional dancers, never missing a step or sounding even slightly out of breath. It is her raw talent and energy on stage that truly proves that the pop princess is the performer of this generation.
It shouldn’t be all that surprising how successful Grande has become, considering she first became a household name as a teenager, starring on Nickelodeon’s musical TV show Victorious. As a result, the immense crowd included children, teenagers and adults alike.
Opening the show, Grande and her team of dancers imitated The Last Supper imagery on a large table. As she sang the opening notes of her empowering song, ‘God is a woman’, the Dublin crowd immediately raised their voices to meet hers. The song was accompanied by a perfectly synchronised dance, which at one point shows the singer hanging upside down off the table still belting out each note in perfect pitch.
Throughout the concert, Grande sang out hit after hit with the crowd joining in on every word. The songs were broken up by short audio-visual pieces, one a home video of the star as a child. Another, her singing Marilyn Monroe’s ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’. During these interludes, Grande would change quickly, with each outfit as glamorous and covered in rhinestones as the previous.
There was a large security presence, as well as trained explosive detection canines throughout the 3 Arena, only permitting attendees to bring clear bags inside, a rule enforced by Grande herself following the bomb explosion at her Manchester concert in 2017.
However, the high level of security certainly did not affect the atmosphere in the arena. The crowd was buzzing with energy before Grande took to the stage, singing along with her two opening acts, American music duo Social House, who worked with Grande on her hit ‘Boyfriend’, and English R&B star Ella Mai.
Onstage Grande asserts herself as powerful and sexy, but she does not exploit this either, keeping her performance family friendly yet still exciting. She doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks to appeal to the crowd, as they love her for everything that she is.
The same can be said when looking at the elegance in simplicity of her staging. The large stage left completely bare, with only projections behind Grande and her dancers as they performed.
A large semi-circle runway parted the crowd and allowed Grande to strut around the whole arena, giving the entire crowd a chance to be close to the performer.
Her hit ‘7 rings’, saw the production of a hot pink car with “Dublin” spray painted across its side. She certainly doesn’t miss the small details. During ‘NASA’ and ‘Only 1’, a giant sphere descended from the ceiling and lit the arena with stars adding even more magic to Grande’s soulful singing.
Despite her childhood stardom, Grande has certainly not let her past define her music. She has transitioned seamlessly from a child star into a powerhouse of modern music, with no wrecking balls involved.
The main reason behind this appears to be very simple. Grande has an incredible talent which she meets with dedication and energy. It’s obvious that the 26 year old is a woman of many talents as she sings, dances and even performs Nicki Minaj’s rap verse in ‘the light is coming’.
However, she embraces the difficulties she has overcome, especially over the last number of years in her song ‘no tears left to cry’, in which she shares the hardship she faced in her own life after the Manchester Arena bombing.
There was one song noticeably missing from the set list, her emotionally raw ‘ghostin’, which is understandable as it was written for her former boyfriend Mac Miller who passed away in September of last year.
Grande closed the concert with her hit song ‘thank u, next’ which topped the US charts for 6 weeks in a row after its release. The brutally honest hit, where Grande calls out every one of her past boyfriends was the perfect way to end a concert that brought the audience on the journey that is this incredible pop icons life.
After that performance, it is clear that Grande really does rule the world of pop, and rightly so. The concert was a treat for any of her fans but also had a universal appeal with her undeniable talent, that even the dads and boyfriends that were dragged along couldn’t help but bop their heads along.
Image Credit: Flickr