Named after her career-solidifying second album, Dua Lipa‘s global 2022 trek is titled The Future Nostalgia Tour — but the truth is, what makes the onstage spectacle such an endorphin rush has nothing to do with the shape of things to come. Dua may not be a soothsayer capable of peering into the future of music, but she sure as hell knows how to take the best elements of dance and pop’s past and edit them into a cohesive, exhilarating experience. Taking all the right notes from Madonna’s record-breaking global tours of the 21st century (hello, roller skaters circling the stage), tossing in some Katy Perry kitsch (we see you, gigantic inflatable lobster vibing to the beat) and tossing in some house-y remixes of her material that give off Daft Punk vibes (what’s up, robot voices), the Future Nostalgia Tour is exactly the kind of return-to-the-real-world concert pop fans have been thirsting for.
After a stellar opening from Caroline Polachek, who confidently demonstrated she can hold the attention of a jam-packed Madison Square Garden, Tuesday (March 1) night’s New York City concert kicked off with Dua Lipa and her backup dancers stationed behind LED ballet bars on a calisthenic run-through of “Physical” in neon-hued body suits. “A lot of collective childhood dreams are coming true on this stage,” Lipa said at one point during the show, and her dancers certainly didn’t hold a damn thing back, providing flawless choreography with an easy-going swagger that made it all look easy.
Dua herself delivered high kicks, strong vocals and warm smiles for the crowd, which, according to her, included faces she’s been seeing at her shows since her shows at NYC’s 250-capacity venue Mercury Lounge in 2016. The fact that she’s now headlining MSG in an era where most pop singers struggle to land a second hit after a breakout moment is a testament to her rock-solid catalog, which includes so many recognizable radio bops you can’t help but be surprised that Future Nostalgia is just her second album. The setlist included everything you’d want and expect out of a Dua Lipa show, from the Hot 100 No. 2 smash “Levitating” (fittingly delivered while floating above the crowd) to her top 10 Elton John collab “Cold Heart” (the pre-filmed appearance from Sir Elton onscreen elicited a huge roar from the crowd) to an arena-wide sing-along on early career fan fave “Be the One.”
Save for costume changes when Lipa left the stage, there was really no down time where fans collectively wandered off; everyone in attendance seemed as invested in smashes like “Don’t Start Now” as they were in album tracks such as “Good In Bed.” With the biggest hit of 2021 under her belt and a rapturously cathartic tour ahead of her this year, Dua Lipa’s future looks electric.