Lizzo Budweiser Stage, Toronto ON, September 19

Lizzo Budweiser Stage, Toronto ON, September 19
Photo: Carrie Musgrave
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Going to a Lizzo concert is like going to a self-help retreat.
 
The 31-year old singer punctuated each song during last night's (September 19) Toronto stop on the "Cuz I Love You Too Tour" with observations about self-care, body positivity and self-confidence. "Don't let them trivialize the self-love movement," she declared to an eager crowd that was eating affirmations out of the palm of her hand all night. "It's so mainstream now that they make it out to be spa days and mimosas, but we know it is so much deeper than that."

Lizzo has an incredibly loyal following — her fans worship her unwaveringly, and deservedly so. But she's uniquely aware of the power she holds and seems eager to correct it: Throughout her performance, she reminded the crowd how lucky she felt to be there, how grateful she is to her fanbase, and how aware she is that the kind of success she's skyrocketed to this year can be fleeting. Every once in a while, she'd hold a pause mid-song, look around at the cheering mass, and mouth, "Wow." 

After all, her performance at the Budweiser Stage, an approximately 16,000 person venue, was originally scheduled to take place at REBEL nightclub — a space nearly one-quarter the size — but was upgraded after fans came out in droves to buy tickets. And, she lamented, on her last stop through Toronto just a few months ago, she was playing the Danforth Music Hall — a venue that fits approximately 1,500 — and hadn't even sold it out. She was grateful then, she told the roaring amphitheatre, and she's grateful now. 

The singer came out to a stage decorated to look something like a 1970s spaceship in a shimmering gold tunic and pastel blue bodysuit. She stood regally behind a DJ booth decorated with her name for a few moments, only to quickly ditch the tunic (one of several costume changes that evening), step out from behind the booth, and take her place at the front and centre of the stage, joined by a crew of lively, twerk-happy backup dancers. 

Lizzo brought the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions over the course of the night, as the crowd accompanied her through the trying ballad of "Cuz I Love You" to high-octane female empowerment anthem "Like a Girl." The singer has range: She repeatedly held high notes with impressive commitment, she twerked her heart out, and, yes, she even played the flute. 

Her closing song, "Truth Hurts," was undoubtedly (and unsurprisingly, given its current chart-topping status) the best of the night, but her encore performance of "Juice" came in at a close second. During both songs, she sang backup to a thunderous crowd reciting her lyrics by heart.

From the sappy to the salacious, Lizzo kept every audience member bouncing on their feet all night, clapping when she told them to, waving their cell phone flashlights on command. A Lizzo crowd is a loyal crowd, an empowered crowd, an excited crowd. And that's exactly how she likes it. Toronto was lucky to have her.