Sam Smith is finally free. On Gloria: The Tour, they are admirably fully themselves. Long gone are the days of a dapper, clean-cut Sam in a suit singing soulful ballads about heartbreak. Now, the songs remain, but the look is much more fabulous, fun, and most importantly, liberating.
Last night, at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, Smith somewhat made that last transition clear. ‘Stay With Me,’ ‘I’m Not The Only One,’ ‘Like I Can,’ and ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’ kicked things off in what felt like a way to put them aside for the more dance-like feel that some of their newer singles (‘How Do You Sleep,’ ‘Dancing With A Stranger’) provide. When first addressing the crowd, Smith declared the night a party.
“I hope you had a good, long weekend,” Smith said. “If you are hungover, wake up! This is a party!”
It has been nearly four years since Smith’s last world tour. On the last trek, The Thrill Of It All Tour, Smith would sport more neutral-colored blazers and elegantly paced around a very minimalistic stage. The show for Gloria is quite a turn. Smith mentioned in the past that they had full creative control over this one compared to past album cycles – and it shows.
Despite what the internet might have you believe, Smith’s show is not just them dressed scantily with devil horns on their head. That takes place for the encore of just two songs – a slowed-down, haunting cover of Madonna’s ‘Human Nature’ and Smith’s Grammy award-winning collab with Kim Petras, ‘Unholy.’ It’s more of a playful, sexually-charged ode to expression than a demonic-like ritual. It is the tip of the iceberg of what Smith’s show really is.
Instead, the concert centers around love and acceptance in a very positive way. It is both classy and vulgar (no pun intended), joyous and sorrowful, bright and dark. It has you tearing up one second and then dancing the night away the next. There’s no room for shame when you combine all these things.
The stage set up is a massive golden sculpture of Aphrodite – goddess of love, beauty, and sex. Those three ideals used as the three different acts in the show. Several outfit changes accompanied each segment of the show. An interesting quinceañera-like, purple dress was worn for a stunning cover of Des’ree’s ‘I’m Kissing You,’ while a black ensemble with a cowboy hat showed more fierceness for ‘Gimme.’ It then became a full on gay party for ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’ as Sam dazzled in pink ruffles.
Two of the highlights of the night came from Smith’s songs with electronic music artists like Disclosure and Calvin Harris. Their ability to turn the room from a church-like gospel sing-along with songs like ‘Lay Me Down’ and ‘Love Goes’ to a full on dance festival atmosphere with bangers like ‘Latch’ and ‘Promises’ so quickly was fascinating to watch. Despite the clear contrast, both showcased Smith’s flawless vocals.
Smith’s charisma radiated throughout the entire night. They give off a very friendly vibe – making the audience feel more like friends than fans. They shared each moment like a host at a party more than a high-selling hitmaker. (Granted – a very talented host). This adds another dimension to the show’s message of freedom. You could tell Smith’s fans felt safe … they felt free.
Gloria: The Tour will stop in Forth Worth and Houston this week before heading to Mexico for four shows next week. It will then wrap up later this year with many performances in Asia and Australia.
- Stay With Me
- I’m Not The Only One
- Like I Can
- Too Good At Goodbyes
- How Do You Sleep?
- Dancing With A Stranger
- I’m Kissing You
- Lay Me Down
- Love Goes
- Lose You
- I’m Not Here To Make Friends
- I Feel Love
- Human Nature