New Voice, New Rules: Dua Lipa at the Roseland

Vortex Music Magazine

February 15 saw the pop sensation performing to a sold-out Roseland Theater with support from Canadian rapper Tommy Genesis.

Dua Lipa at the Roseland Theater on February 15, 2018. Photo by Pixie Levinson.Dua Lipa at the Roseland Theater on February 15, 2018. Photo by Pixie Levinson.Over the past two years, London-born Dua Lipa’s career has skyrocketed. Following the release of such singles as “Hotter Than Hell,” “Blow Your Mind (Mwah),” and the subsequent release of her self-titled debut, it was finally the album track “New Rules” that brought her to monumental heights, spending 24 weeks on the Billboard Top 40 and making it to the number one position.

The success of “New Rules” brought a massive spike in her fanbase, and as her self-titled tour made its way to the Northwest, the demand was higher than ever, selling out the Roseland Theater well in advance of its arrival on Thursday night.

As the day started out and fans began to line up outside the Roseland Theater, things took a bleak turn when it was reported that Lipa was ill and cancelling previously planned radio sessions and meet and greets for Live 95.5 and Z100.

Despite these cancellations and an ominous fear that the night’s show would be called off as well, Lipa took the time for vocal rest and pulled through in time for the sold-out crowd to make their way in for the full production.

Another exciting new voice on the rise, Tommy Genesis, took the opening slot, delivering a short but mighty punch of a set prior to Lipa’s appearance. Genesis, a self-proclaimed “fetish rapper,” delivered a diverse sound, playing between harder hitting trap beats and triplet flows and slower, more experimental R&B styles akin to artists such as Kilo Kish. Her energy on stage never faltered; however the exchange from the crowd didn’t seem to match what Genesis was putting out.

Watching from the back of the venue, heads bobbed up near the front of the crowd, but much of the middle and sides were at a standstill. Phone screens would occasionally make their way up to the surface to snap a quick pic or short video for Snapchat, but it appeared that much of the slowly growing audience was simply waiting for the headliner’s arrival.

Genesis ended her set with her self-titled single, “Tommy,” packing as much energy into the last bit of her roughly 20-minute set as she could. At this point, with a heavy bass beat filling the room and Dua Lipa’s arrival inching closer, the crowd finally let loose, matching the output of Genesis with jumps and chants along with the track’s chorus.

Dua Lipa and her band at the Roseland Theater on February 15, 2018. Photo by Pixie Levinson.Dua Lipa and her band at the Roseland Theater on February 15, 2018. Photo by Pixie Levinson.Lipa arrived to fanfare shortly after. As the lights went out, the massive production on stage came alight, and her band introduced Lipa to the stage with the intro to “Hotter Than Hell” blasting into the room. As soon as Lipa appeared, the few phone screens that surfaced throughout Genesis’ set popped up at once, capturing the first glimpses of the pop phenom.

The stillness of the crowd and Snapchat trance didn’t last for long. Moving through the soaring synth pop of “Hotter Than Hell” into a medley of “Dreams” and “No Lie,” Lipa shot adrenaline into the atmosphere, and the room of lit-up screens and cameras was soon replaced with a packed house of dancing and singing, Lipa’s fans losing their minds to the music and screaming along to every word.

Lipa’s impact on the LGBT community in music has not gone unnoticed, and fans at the front of the pack, after surely waiting hours for barricade, surprised the star with a fitting gift during her performance of “Blow Your Mind (Mwah).” Reaching into the crowd, Lipa retrieved a large rainbow flag, which she then donned and danced with, much to the joy of the fans.

Dua Lipa at the Roseland Theater on February 15, 2018. Photo by Pixie Levinson.Dua Lipa at the Roseland Theater on February 15, 2018. Photo by Pixie Levinson.Though Lipa delivered hit after hit, keeping the dance party going full throttle, she took some time near the middle of the set to showcase her softer side, belting out her ballads of “No Goodbyes” and the beautiful “New Love.” As her voice filled the room and demanded full attention from the crowd, it was impossible to tell that she was any measure of sick. Her vocal rest clearly paid off.

Though her set clocked in at only just over an hour, Lipa’s pop arsenal showcased just how powerful a voice she has to offer the music landscape. Closing with the strongest attraction, “New Rules,” the reaction of the crowd, the pure joy and energy exuded from the front row to the back of the theater was proof enough to see that Lipa’s career will soar even higher from here.

“New Rules” hit the charts only last year, making Lipa one of the most exciting new voices in a crowded genre. If her performance, personality, and skill in pop songcraft is any indication, the second coming of Dua Lipa will solidify her legend amongst pop royalty.

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