In March 2020, the virus brings the whole world to a standstill and Dua Lipa has to make a decision. The British singer has been working on her second album, “Future Nostalgia” for over a year. Expectations are high, in 2019 she won a Grammy for Best New Artist.
But is the onset of a global pandemic the time to release cheerful pop music? “I don’t even know if it was the right decision,” Dua Lipa said in tears in an Instagram video announcing the release of her album at the end of March. “But what we need most now is music and fun and that we’re trying to shed light on these situations.”
Two years later, thousands of people cheered in the almost entirely sold-out Mercedes-Benz arena in Berlin when Dua Lipa entered the stage in a pink suit. You made the right decision: the album “Future Nostalgia” became one of the most streamed albums of 2020.
But since the 26-year-old became an international star during the pandemic, there are no live shows at the moment. Her world tour had to be postponed three times.
The enthusiasm is even greater now that Dua Lipa is starting to act “Physicist,” a tribute to Olivia Newton-John’s workout anthem and her ’80s- and ’90s-inspired voice model.
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It’s clear from the very first moment: There’s a real pop star on stage, an “alpha female,” as Dua Lipa calls herself in the opening soundtrack to her album. She confidently progresses from A to B, cracking her mic shaft, and delivering sporty twists with her crew of tireless dancers.
Her voice remains deep and powerful as you know it. There’s not much time to unwind in 90 minutes: like on the album, one of them follows the next band, the energy level stays constantly high. Stories are nothing for Dua Lipa.
Dua Lipa writes her own songs
The show, which is divided into four parts – and four costumes – consists almost exclusively of songs from “Future Nostalgia”. One of the few exceptions is the new rules Dua Lipa made after the breakup. “If you are under his command/You will not overcome him,” echoed in the hall a thousand times.
The singer said that it was her first exhibition in Berlin. She was so excited that she hid in the bathroom.
Dua Lipa, whose first name means “love” in Albanian, was born in London. Her parents are Kosovar Albanians who fled the war in 1992 and later returned with her. At the age of fifteen she returned to London alone to pursue her singing career.
Despite the retro sounds, she doesn’t have much in common with the mainstream pop stars of the ’90s: she writes her own songs and never had to change her Disney star image first. In front of her 82 million followers on Instagram, she’s not afraid to address serious issues, whether it’s Kosovo’s independence or sexism in the industry.
The only song-like moment of the night comes with “Boys Will Be Boys,” a dazzling pop anthem in which Dua Lipa owes his toxic manhood.
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She sings about how normal it is for women to come home at night with their keys on their fingers – but before too much gloom sets in, the dancers are back on stage.
enthusiastic ringing dance
After all, this evening is not about politics, but about escape. Two dancers perform tricks on roller skates, and giant lobster grooves off stage for the mid-tempo tropical number “We’re Good”—a nod to the song’s video, where a crustacean narrowly escapes death in a cooking pot.
The scene reminds us of Katy Perry, who also loves to use large animals in her concerts and has a philosophy similar to Dua Lipa’s: above all, good pop should be fun and should not take itself too seriously.
Lobsters even forgive pop music clichés like obligatory clip art cannons. They finally come into play when Dua Lipa plays “Don’t Start Now”. Before that, you can hear electronic dance music bands, such as One Kiss, a collaboration with DJ Calvin Harris.
Balloons fly in the air, dancers and singers hold hands in an enthusiastic ringing dance. For “height” the square turns into space.
Dua Lipa hovers on a platform above the crowd, and inflatable planets and stars hang next to it. For her, it’s “universal” to bring people together through music, the singer recently told Vogue magazine. She didn’t just wait for this moment for so long.
For many visitors, too, the evening must have been the first concert since the start of the pandemic, the first moment of group dancing. It was two dark years. Dua Lipa has shed some light.