Live Review: SZA at BST Hyde Park

Live Review: SZA at BST Hyde Park

Before her headlining set at Glastonbury, R&B giant SZA graces the stage for a huge show at BST Hyde Park.

By Adam Davidson

US artist SZA has been a big name in the R&B scene for many years. However, following the release of ‘S.O.S’ at the end of 2022, her career has taken off into the stratosphere.

SZA continues to break new boundaries and another landmark in her career comes with a prestigious headlining slot at BST Hyde Park – which has seen the likes of Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and The Rolling Stones perform in recent years.

The anticipation was rising throughout the evening with stellar performances from support acts Sampha and Snoh Aalegra.

The stage was set for SZA as she unveiled her new set design. On her last tour, the R&B star took the audience on a trip across (and under) the sea. Whereas, we now go on a trip through a magical cave into a utopian land.

SZA set the tone for the show from the first moment as she rose on an elevated podium under the stage to perform ‘Love Galore’ before exhilarating renditions of ‘All of the Stars’ and ‘Broken Clocks.’

One of the best things about a SZA concert is that you’re never quite sure what she’s about to do. She brings her songs to life with stunning visuals and special effects that give her fans an experience to remember.

One of the most memorable moments of the show was when the crew brought a huge ant prop onstage and SZA sat on top of it to perform a couple of tracks. It was clear that she had a vision of this magical natural utopia and that was brought to life with immaculate execution.

Another highlight of the evening was a reimagined performance of ‘Kill Bill.’ During the S.O.S tour, SZA performed in front of a screen that had silhouettes of ninjas trying to sneak up on the artist, before she took them out Tarantino style!

This time, SZA and the backup dancers were dancing with machetes and axes – which was equally as effective and fun.

Before SZA reappeared on stage, a big fallen tree trunk appeared on stage. There were murmurs in the crowd as they wondered whether something had fallen from the wiring or whether it was a prop. As the artist performed ‘Nobody Gets Me’, she started climbing up the tree trunk and sat on a platform which looked over the sea of crowd.

As she was getting down from the tree, ‘Rich Baby Daddy’ blasted over the speakers, her collaboration with Sexyy Red and Drake, which had the fans chanting the hook at the top of their voices.

There was a magical ending to the set as SZA performed ‘Good Days.’ She returned to the elevated podium and the visuals showed a big full moon. The special effects transcended this performance and gave the audience chills as it felt like something out of a Disney princess movie.

At the end of the song, in true fairytale fashion, the visuals signaled ‘The End.’ The crowd started to filter out, however, SZA wasn’t quite done yet. She came out for an encore of “20 Something”, which was a fitting ending to the performance as it had the remaining crowd singing along in unison and leaving in high spirits.

There were reports that SZA’s performance at Glastonbury drew one of the smallest crowds from a headline act in its history. However, that’s Glastonbury’s loss and SZA marches on as she proves why she is one of the most exciting and dynamic performers in recent history across all genres.