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Ariana Grande dangerously pleases in Buffalo

Pop singer amazes at the KeyBank Center

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Ariana Grande showered concertgoers with money and talent on Tuesday night.

Dollar bills shot out of nowhere and surprised fans as the singer performed her song “Greedy” during her Buffalo stop of the Dangerous Woman Tour.

The currency had Grande’s face and the song title printed on the front in place of George Washington.

Small details like that contributed to a detailed and exciting show Tuesday night at the KeyBank Center.

Grande’s crowd pleasing props were only a small piece of the show’s aesthetic, as her incredible stage effects, showmanship and vocal ability left the arena in awe.

Nasser Sabri, a native of Palestine, flew over 16 hours to take part in an exchange program and seeing Ariana Grande perform was an added bonus.

“I came all the way from the Middle East to see this show. I’m just really excited to see her perform,” Sabri said. “I’m excited for the visuals; she has this big screen behind the stage, with amazing graphics and close ups of her performing. I also love the dancers, especially the twins.”

Grande opened the show with that giant projection screen and her talented dancers, including twins Brian and Scott Nicholson. The superb performance of “Be Alright” replicated Madonna’s ‘80s classic, “Vogue,” and set the standard for the rest of the show’s well-choreographed numbers.

The backing screen showed pre-recorded visuals of her dancers, dressed in black, moving their arms in sync with the track.

Last year’s Dangerous Woman displayed a new mature side of Grande and her show provided the perfect visual representation of this change.

Grande’s performance of her most recent hit “Side to Side” pushed those adult themes to the limit for a crowd filled with younger teens.

During the performance, Grande and her dancers rode exercise bicycles, swung gym towels and took part in what could best be described as a thrust train.

Tanya Castor, a Lockport resident, commented on the production throughout the concert and how it added to the overall experience.

“My favorite performance of the night was ‘Side to Side,’” Castor said. “Ariana really had a lot of entertaining hype for the song. Her voice was amazing so it sounded good [performed] live compared to the recording. I think she did a fabulous job.”

When it came time to sing the title track for the album and tour, the stage was literally set aflame.

Many concertgoers who exited the venue early didn’t see the encore coming, but the performance was a definite crowd pleaser.

During the performance, Grande slayed the stage with a stunning leather dress and her powerful pipes. She showcased her massive vocal range and allowed the number to feel every bit as dangerous as the flames surrounding her.

Kristen Swait, a concertgoer from Buffalo thought the stage and song selection for the encore was the best part of the show.

“The encore was amazing. ‘Dangerous Woman’ was by far the best song of the night,” Swait said. “There was fire going on in the back and she was just belting her heart out. The stage effects were way more lit than her last concert.”

Grande’s slower tunes still captured the audience’s attention without letting it escape. Grande’s performance of “Moonlight” was nothing short of breathtaking.

The singer sat at the end of the smoky catwalk, giving the audience just what they came to hear – her unfiltered voice. The raw performance tugged at heartstrings and Grande had personal moments noticing individual members of crowd.

Her proximity to the crowd and the simplicity of the track’s instrumental transformed the massive arena into an intimate setting.

Sticking mostly with tracks from the album which gave the tour its name, Grande did stray from the course occasionally with some fresh takes on her earlier songs.

Most notably, Grande performed brand new arrangements of her 2014 hits “Break Free” and “Problem.”

The chopped-up version of “Break Free” fit in perfectly with the stage’s luring neon light effects. The projected designs were reflected on Grande’s ‘90s inspired baggy jeans. The lights seemed like something from a Daft Punk concert, or rather outer space, and alluded to the space theme of the “Break Free” video.

During “Problem,” dancers carrying giant glow sticks surrounded Grande and spun the sticks around, much like futuristic baton twirlers. It was an out of this world take on such a humungous pop song.

Rap was added to the mix when rapper BIA took the stage. She performed her Pharrell-produced songs as well as “Esta Noche” with Grande. The track was unique to the Buffalo set list.

Victoria Monet, a collaborator of Grande’s, performed a variety of easy-going R&B tracks, similar to some cuts off of Dangerous Woman.Monet’s stage presence brought to mind a younger Beyoncé, and gave much deserved attention to the virtually unknown R&B singer.

No amount of guest appearances or special effects could detract from Grande, the star of the show.

With her stage presence fierier than the pyrotechnics on display and her talent shining brighter than any neon glow stick, Grande proved to the crowd at the KeyBank Center how dangerous a five-foot-tall woman can be.

Brenton J. Blanchet is an arts staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com


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