Lizzo review, Glastonbury 2023: Life-affirming performance leaves you baffled as to why she wasn’t a headliner

The artist has come a long way from fun-poking, rough and ready alt-rapper to classy instructor for your best girl’s night out ever

Kate Hutchinson
Sunday 25 June 2023 09:24 BST
Glastonbury: Rick Astley, Lizzo and Guns N' Roses light up Pyramid Stage on Saturday

Glastonbury got it in the neck this year for its lack of women headliners. Watching Lizzo’s exceptionally glammy live performance ahead of Guns N’ Roses on the Pyramid Stage, you’re left baffled as to why she wasn’t in the top slot. Earlier this year she sold out two nights at London’s O2 Arena as part of a mammoth tour, won Record of the Year at the Grammys for her 2022 album Special, and was immortalised playing flute on The Simpsons. Her punchy power-disco-pop, zinging with self-love and sassy empowerment messages, is exactly the pep up Glastonbury needs after a burning hot day.

And Lizzo has more pep and fizz than a Berocca dropped in Prosecco. There’s Shirley Bassey drama as she enters to “Cuz I Love You”, dressed in an incredible PVC lace-up catsuit, and flanked by dancers in pink lamé. The song’s stellar high note, meanwhile, serves as a reminder that she is a singer and rapper with astonishing range. Beyond the high-concept slogans and fun choreography, Lizzo is an artist at the top of her game.

She’s come a long way, from fun-poking, rough-and-ready alt-rapper to classy instructor for your best girl’s night out ever. “The first time I played here in 2018 it was in a big ass tent. There was nobody in there,” she tells the crowd. Now it’s a totally different story: her show is a slick, life-affirming celebration that runs the gamut of pop, disco and R&B with hits such as “Juice”, “I Love You Bitch” and “About Damn Time” (although sometimes a little too slick, perhaps – at one point she yells for everyone to get their lighters up, a well-rehearsed line from her tour that didn’t get cut for Glasto, as the sun scorches the sky behind her).

Still, she variously tells the huge audience that the internet can p**s off, everyone should be kind to themselves and asks Glastonbury to twerk. As if the message wasn’t clear enough, she then shouts, “this is a bad bitch meditation!” – although her idea of zen includes a guitarist shredding on her knees, two male dancers coming onstage for “Boys”, and Lizzo dramatically falling to the floor with her rhinestone mic stand.

It’s all fun but the best bit comes during the final section when Lizzo, resplendent in a gold tasselled dress, gets out her flute and plays alongside two young flautists in pink catsuits, before shifting into her single “Special” and a quick snippet of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”.

As she moves to the front of the stage for a solo, she must be the only performer ever who has serenaded such an enormous crowd with a flute solo as a dancer jiggles her buttocks beside her. She is the baddest bitch and don’t we know it.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in