Sam Smith used their platform to promote body positivity and battle kink-shaming, all while showcasing the best voice in pop music.
Ignore the reviews saying Sam Smith’s Gloria The Tour was a concert full of sex and shock factor. No actual sex took place on stage and there was very little to shock unless you’ve been living in Gloriavale all your life.
There was however an enormous amount of talent. Smith’s voice is unsurpassed by any male pop vocalist and they made that talent abundantly clear from their opening song: ‘Stay With Me’.
It’s brave to start with the breakthrough hit that made you the star you are today, even more so to immediately follow it with two of your other biggest hits: ‘I Know I’m Not The Only One’ and ‘Like I Can’.
Their vocal delivery of all three was pitch-perfect and seemingly every audience member was singing along in unison. As they finished that trio, you could hear concert-goers announcing to each other, “This is already the best concert I’ve ever been to!”
Sam performed atop a gold statue of a reclining Aphrodite, along with their talented band and backing singers. Gloria The Tour was a show split into three acts: Love, Beauty, and Sex, and with the lyrical content of their setlist reflecting the act each song fell into.
The result of this meant the concert started with slow sing-a-longs, calmly climbed to mid-tempo, and finished upbeat to send you into the night.
The ‘Love’ section reflected the heartbreak that inspired many of Smith’s songs, including ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’.
As ‘How Do Your Sleep’ and ‘Dancing With Stranger’ pick up the tempo the concert transitions into ‘Beauty’ – an act that reflects on beauty standards and RuPaul’s famous catchphrase, “If you can’t love yourself, how the Hell are you going to love somebody else.”
Following stunning performances of ‘Promises’, ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’ and Latch, Sam has found their beauty, defiantly ripping off their shirt during a rendition of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ (a declaration of body positivity which the audience rapturously applauds), Sam is now ready for Sex!
Queue fishnets stockings, a corset and a top hat with devil horns, riving dancers, a cover of Madonna’s ‘Human Nature’ (that encouraged embracing your kinks), and a closing performance of their biggest hit, ‘Unholy’.
A stunning and empowering end to 2023’s best concert tour. Sam’s voice will ensure they remain a singing star with a long career, but their willingness to risk isolating some of their fanbase to spread important messages about self-acceptance will truly make them one of the most important LGBTQ+ icons of this century.
Sam Smith’s Gloria the Tour played Auckland’s Spark Arena on Saturday 11 November.