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Photo courtesy of Billboard.
The Holdovers Review
February 20, 2024

SZA Second String at Prudential Center Review

Solána Imani Rowe, or better known as SZA, is a popular American song-writer and singer. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but raised not far from us in Maplewood, New Jersey. SZA has been making music since 2010, but is only on the second leg of her second solo tour. Her first tour was in 2018, performing her album, “Ctrl.” This past year and a half she has been performing her “S.O.S” album tour, which was released in December 2022. After visiting all 17 American cities, as well as cities in Europe, she came back to the US for more highly requested shows. 

Photo Courtesy of Kat Sophia, The Santa Barbara Independent.

My sister and I went to see SZA at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on October 1st. I got tickets at the very last minute and got good seats for a decent price. A small Tik Tok artist trying to get recognized, D4vd, opened for her and played a few songs that the audience recognized. He was very energetic and definitely got me and the people around me excited for SZA.

The beginning of the show replicated the album cover, with SZA sitting on a diving board with a screen displaying the ocean behind her. She sang “PSA” on the diving board but then was covered by a screen that showed her diving off the diving board into the open water. 

The show weaved a tale of a shipwreck, starting with SZA and background dancers dancing on a boat. During her time on the boat, she sang many songs from the S.O.S album that had me screaming. The stage then dropped a screen down and showed an engine room. At this time, she sang songs from her previous album that I wasn’t expecting. This was an awesome surprise. 

The next section was definitely my favorite part of the show. SZA changed into a huge puffy gown and was put into a lifeboat as if the ship had sunk. She got into the lifeboat, and it started to rise up to the ceiling where she moved above the audience while singing and throwing rose petals. This part was my favorite mainly because of the songs she sang and how different it was from any other concert I have been to. 

She finished the show similarly to how it began with her on the diving board in front of the background screen of  a big orange sunset, singing “Good Days,” a classic from this album. This part almost brought me to tears, because I knew this was the last song and didn’t want it to be over.  

Photo Courtesy of Kat Sophia, The Santa Barbara Independent.

Despite her constant outfit changes, crazy choreography by her and her background dancers, and changing the way her music sounded, she never lost the crowd’s energy. Everyone around me was excited the whole time, there was never a chance to sit because the next song was just as good as the first. SZA definitely knew how to tell a story and perform in a way that left me speechless. 

However, what made this show special was at the end after people started leaving, SZA came out in her pajamas and started talking to the crowd. She told us how important this show was to her because this place was her home. 

This was definitely one of the best concerts I have ever seen. She kept the audience excited and singing. She was a great performer as well as great vocals while singing. I am excited to see her career flourish and see what she has in store for her next album! 

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Abby Tolchin, Copy Editor
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