Living the lush life with Zara Larsson at O2 Academy Birmingham

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Swedish pop star Zara Larsson treats fans to the hits from her album ‘So Good’ in a show that combines gorgeous vocals, slick dance moves and undeniable charisma.

At the top of her set at Birmingham’s O2 Academy, 19-year-old Zara Larsson sets out a mission statement for the show people are about to see. There’s way too much negativity in the world, and so for an hour at least, she wants to spread some joy. It’s safe to say, mission accomplished. With a banger-filled set list and a playful, charming stage presence, Larsson practically radiates positive energy, and succeeds in filling the venue with the irresistible urge to dance.

You might be forgiven for thinking that such a young pop star would only have a handful of singles to perform on her first tour — but Larsson has been steadily building up a collection of instantly recognisable songs over the last few years which have all made their way into her album, from ‘Never Forget You,’ recorded with MNEK, to ‘So Good’, ‘’TG4M’ and ‘Only You.’

The audience are pretty diverse as far as age and gender go, which speaks to Larsson’s appeal, and there’s definitely something in the set list for everybody. Flirtation abounds in ‘I Know What Boys Like’ and ‘I Would Like’, there’s empowerment in ‘Make That Money Girl’, unapologetic DGAF-ness in ‘Ain’t My Fault’, and heartbreak aplenty in ballads ‘Don’t Let Me Be Yours’ and ‘I Can’t Fall In Love Without You.’

Larsson’s vocals are on point throughout the show, including a brief interlude in which she gives Ed Sheeran a run for his money on a cover of his hit, ‘Shape Of You’. And towards the end of the set comes one of its highlights; a rousing performance of triumphant anthem ‘Symphony’, with the audience singing along to every word of the chorus. Larsson also treats her fans to a three-song encore, rounding off the evening for good with the feel-good, you-only-live-once party track ‘Lush Life’.

Shout outs must go to each and every one of Larsson’s backing singers and dancers, who don’t stop all night and help bring sass, soul and verve in equal measure to every last track. But what makes the show so enjoyable isn’t the catchy pop songs (although there are plenty to go around), or even Larsson’s impressive vocals (girl can sing). It’s how much fun she, and everyone around her, is having. Larsson is clearly having the time of her life on stage, prancing around like a ballerina in between songs and expressing her sheer pleasure at being able to perform for a crowd. And that earnest glee translates to the audience; every single ticketholder walked out of the O2 on a genuine high.

Read our interview with Zara here

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