The beginning chords of “About Damn Time” sent an explosion of excitement throughout Madison Square Garden as the Big Grrrls, Lizzo’s full-figured backup dancers, were joined onstage by the queen herself, Lizzo, wearing a neon green wig styled half up, half down, green and dark green striped tights, a fit-and-flare Santa coat dress, and green boots.
Everybody was singing the lyrics, “In a minute, i’ma need a sentimental man or woman to pump me up.” She also strategically changed her next lyrics which originally say “feelin’ fussy, walkin’ in my Balenci-ussies” to “feelin’ fussy, walkin’ in my Yitty-ussies”, a reference to her shapewear brand, Yitty, and a possible way around promoting the newly-disgraced Balenciaga. As the song neared the end, one of the Grrrls brought Lizzo her flute to give a short solo.
The song concluded and Lizzo, dressed as Mrs. Claus, officially greeted the audience and asked them to be prepared to sing along (which they already enthusiastically had thus far) with the next song. The soulful piano entrance of “Special” began and Lizzo reminded the crowd that they are special even if no one tells them today. This message is essential to the 2022 Emmy award-winning artist as it’s a running theme in her newly-released documentary Love, Lizzo on HBO Max. In the documentary, Lizzo constantly fights to stay positive while the world relentlessly tries to make her believe she’s not special simply because she’s not the standard body size as mainstream celebrities.
After the emotional song draws to a close, Lizzo picked the energy way back up by saying, “Thank you so much Jingle Ball, thank you MSG. I feel awful because I’ve actually been keeping a secret from you all. I’m not actually Mrs. Claus.” She then ripped off her red coat revealing that there was an all-green jumpsuit underneath, the same shade as her slime-colored wig. “I’m the Grinch!” Lizzo said, with all the charisma that’s caused every person in Madison Square Garden to fall in love with her.
She began her next song, “To Be Loved” by saying “Grinch, I’m ‘bout to have a panic attack!” Music lovers of all ages, genders and races were dancing, smiling, singing and jumping up and down in their blinking rainbow ornament necklaces, light-up Santa hats, and glowing, blue reindeer antlers.
The set continued with “Truth Hurts” including another flute solo with the highest notes heard to man and an iconic Lizzo twerk session. “Good as Hell” was next up and the crowd joined Lizzo and the Big Grrrls in a stomp-clap combo as Lizzo encouraged the crowd saying, “I want you to stomp out all the negativity of 2022 because we don’t need it next year!” She wrapped up her set with the song, “Juice.”
Overall, Lizzo’s performance was the embodiment of fun. It was refreshing to see the freeness of these women on stage, smiling, hyping up the crowd, and twerking with bodies of all sizes. Not a single person in that arena stayed in their seats. It was a party of love, acceptance, and expression.