SZA brought her truly epic ‘SOS’ tour to Madison Square Garden (night 2 review)
SZA brought her SOS tour to Madison Square Garden on Sunday night for her second of two consecutive sold-out shows at the iconic NYC arena. Night two didn’t have any surprise guests like night one’s Cardi B and Phoebe Bridgers appearances, but that didn’t matter. The SOS Tour is a truly epic experience on its own.
Even before SZA took the stage on Sunday night, excitement in the room was high. The Garden was packed for opener Omar Apollo, even with multiple insane lines for SZA merch while he played, and tons of people came ready to yell the words to his songs. After Omar, the night's DJ kept the energy high with a hits-filled set that had the huge crowd singing along and dancing in the aisles, and once the lights finally dimmed and a screen lit up with the words “The SOS Tour Starring SZA,” the screams from the crowd were deafening.
That screen eventually lifted, revealing SZA on an elevated, diving board-like platform that mimicked the SOS album cover, and after she finished singing “PSA,” the screen came back down, showed pre-recorded footage of SZA tossing the mic into the ocean, followed by herself jumping in, and we were off. The SOS Tour is full of multiple set and costume changes, with segue music and visuals during each break to keep the entire show as one seamless performance without a single second of downtime. The aesthetic of the set designs matched the aquatic theme of the SOS album cover; the show began on a dock, with SZA backed by four dancers and a mix of DJ and live musicians, including her especially shreddy guitarist AriO'Neal who was given the spotlight a few times throughout the night. The next scene was aboard a ship, until eventually the ship sunk and SZA rode a lifeboat across Madison Square Garden, hovering above the crowd. After that, the show went under the sea, with a massive anchor prop on stage.
From the visuals to the dancers to SZA herself, the show was vivid and artistic, and you couldn’t have asked for a better performance or setlist. She played almost all of SOS, plus a good chunk of CTRL and other songs like her Doja Cat collab “Kiss Me More” and her Kendrick Lamar collab “All the Stars,” and every song felt like a hit. The crowd reacted like they were all hits too; I don’t think there was a single song where you couldn’t hear a huge amount of people singing along or screaming in approval of the song choice, whether it was one of her stadium-sized singles or one of her soft acoustic ballads. SZA’s voice sounded remarkable, especially when she broke into some powerhouse belting, and her band sounded great as they faithfully recreated the album tracks and threw in a few new arrangements for the live set. The whole show was just a pure adrenaline rush.
At the end of the show, SZA—who’s originally from Jersey and spent some time living in New York—spoke to the crowd about how much it means for her to be headlining Madison Square Garden and how grateful she is that her fans gave her this opportunity. It felt like a genuine, truly touching way to end a great night. She also showed a preview of her upcoming music video for "Low" and said it's coming soon. Stay tuned!
Check out videos of the Cardi B and Phoebe Bridgers appearances at night one here. The tour continues in Atlanta on Tuesday (3/7). All remaining dates, some fan-shot videos of night two, and the general tour setlist below.
SZA - SOS Tour Setlist (via)
Seek & Destroy
Bag Lady (Erykah Badu cover)
Smoking on My Ex Pack (with "Too Late")
All the Stars (Kendrick Lamar & SZA song)
Garden (Say It Like Dat)
Doves in the Wind
Nobody Gets Me
Kiss Me More (Doja Cat song)
I Hate U
SZA -- 2023 North American Tour Dates
Tue Mar 07 – Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena
Thu Mar 09 – Austin, TX – Moody Center
Fri Mar 10 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Mon Mar 13 – San Diego, CA – Viejas Arena
Tue Mar 14 – Oakland, CA – Oakland Arena
Thu Mar 16 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
Sat Mar 18 – Portland, OR – Moda Center
Sun Mar 19 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
Wed Mar 22 – Los Angeles, CA – Kia Forum
Thu Mar 23 – Los Angeles, CA – Kia Forum