The 3,000-capacity venue was pretty intimate for a multi-billion-view YouTube sensation and someone who’s been rocking the European and US summer festival circuit. But if Dua Lipa’s trajectory carries on as it has been, it’s probably one of the last times anyone will see her so up-close. From start to finish she was amped up to 11, moving, shaking, jumping, kicking and even headbanging.
And that’s exactly what Dua Lipa’s brand of “dark pop” calls for. The sound from her three-piece band was nothing short of immense. The drummer had to be hooked up to electronic pads because his huge, booming chops would have made Wagner’s hair stand on end. The guitarist and bassist were doubling up with a pair of keyboards each (plus accessories), and, oh man, did they have some seriously big sounds wired into them.
But Dua Lipa’s voice was big and strong and up to the task as it soared over this barrage of basslines and grooves. She was confident, she was sexy, and she was thrilled to be in Bangkok.
When the curtain dropped and she began striding to the front of the stage wearing oversized checked silk pants and sequinned, strappy crop-top, the crowd was right up for the infectious beat of Blow Your Mind.
And without giving the audience a chance to catch its breath, Dua Lipa, ably supported by her two dancers and two backing singers, had barrelled high-speed through Dreams/No Lie, My Love, Lost In Your Light, High and Garden.
Each tune upped the ante and Dua never stopped giving her all. It was pretty impressive to watch somebody so athletic maintain such a powerful presence with her voice.
That alone sets her apart from so many other female performers. Her fans get the lowdown moves and the high-up notes. And audience participation was great from beginning to end, everyone singing along with Dua, as well as some great back-and-forth moments.
Perhaps the edgiest crowd interaction came at the penultimate number: IDGAF. The huge screen for visuals was “interrupted” with a warning about “explicit language and behaviour”.
The next song was for all the “**** boys who have done you wrong”. And anyone who wanted to join in had to “put your middle finger up”. It was really something, to see hundreds and hundreds of 15-year-old (and younger) girls raise the rigid-digit salute and sing “I don’t give a ****” at the top of their lungs.
Adult chaperones everywhere were raising their eyebrows, and I’m pretty sure that ultimate arbiter of Thainess, Gen Prayut, felt a shiver run down his spine, wherever he was.
Please, kids. Can we have some more?
After that shocking display of teenage rebellion, the beat kicked in for Dua’s global smash, New Rules, and once again she had the crowd in her hand, urging them to get low and bounce up. And they obliged, so much so that the concrete floor of the hall began to flex and move in a huge, euphoric high-energy climax.
We were treated to 19 perfectly timed songs in 90 minutes, reflecting the pitch-perfect pop coming out of London at the moment, and delivered by an on-fire Dua Lipa, whose look and style embody the now. I think we’ll be seeing more of her.
– Chris Ayre