Ariana Grande Brings Dangerous Woman Tour to Madison Square Garden: Recap

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Republic Records
Ariana Grande performs during her Dangerous Woman tour at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 23, 2017 in New York City.  

The pop star rocked the Manhattan arena on February 23 and 24.

Ariana Grande is known for her powerful voice, signature high ponytail, and until recently, a bubblegum pop sound that made her audiences want to dance. For the Dangerous Woman Tour, however, she’s showing off a more mature sound and edgier image. With outfits custom-made by celebrity fashion designer Bryan Hearns, Grande electrified the Madison Square Garden stage with her four-piece rhythm section and 10 backup dancers.

Her set list included the entirety of her most recent studio album, Dangerous Woman -- which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 (chart dated Jun. 11, 2016) and was certified platinum by the RIAA. Top songs from Dangerous Woman include the album’s title track, which she performed as her encore – clad in a giant patent leather coat and gown reminiscent of the bodysuit worn in the song’s music video – “Into You," and “Side to Side,” featuring rapper Nicki Minaj; “Side” is the album’s highest-charting song, peaking at No. 4 on the Hot 100 on Dec. 3, 2016. (Only two songs from past albums were featured: “Problem” and “One Last Time,” both of which appeared on her chart-topping sophomore album, My Everything.)

Grande didn’t hold back on choreography or staging: the opening number, “Be Alright,” featured her and her dancers on a bare stage voguing, the audience was showered with dollar-bill confetti during “Greedy,” and she brought on a full gym – complete with stationary bikes – for “Side to Side.” It rained pink balloons, and lasers blinded even the farthest away seats. The show utilized a silhouette-tracking technology, as well as pre-recorded footage, to project images and videos onto the massive scrim that lined the back of the stage.

A highlight of the projections was during an instrumental interlude, where a series of adjectives flashed (including “gentle, “sexy,” “sensual,” “loud,” and “quiet”), followed by the phrase “NOT ASKING FOR IT.” The message referred to the “dangerous woman” theme of the tour, and how women are “not asking for [harassment, sexism, etc.],” regardless of their demeanor. (Grande is known for speaking out against sexism, and considers herself a feminist.)

The tour runs in the U.S. until April 15 and the European leg runs May 8 through June 17.