Concert Review: Doja Cat - "The Scarlet Tour" @ Prudential Center

Hey CCTV Crew!

Chan here, and I've got the lowdown on Doja Cat's Scarlet Tour at the Prudential Center. Brace yourselves for the Devil Cat—oops, I mean, Doja Cat's unique spectacle.

Doja, known for her diverse music styles, pulled off killer performances despite the weariness of her breakout hit "Say So." (If you don't remember, the rapper performed that song everywhere in different iterations for a year and then some). The Scarlet era brought forth a reinvented artist shedding her pop princess image. Despite the controversial transformation, attending the concert shed light on Doja's vision.

Quick and Dirty on the show:

  1. 6th row VIP tickets - score!
  2. Opening act: Ice Spice
  3. Five acts in total
  4. Scarlet steals the spotlight
  5. Doja sticks to one outfit all night
  6. Minimal yet massive stage props: Giant Spider, Giant Eyeball

1. Confession time: Missed the photo-ops and the food in the lounge, but got exclusive merch and early access to the "ILLUMINATI STORE." Shoutout to Prudential Center staff for the help throughout the night. They helped me with merch, check-in and ushering me around when people kept trying to sneak into floor area.

2. Ice Spice's performance, though brief, showcased improvement. I saw Ice Spice at the Governors Ball and wasn't initially impressed. However, she's improved over the past year, showing great stamina and engaging with the audience. The subway/bodega stage design and energetic dancers were highlights. Despite her growth, her limited discography kept her set under 30 minutes, making way for Doja Cat's setup.

3. Doja, a true performer, flawlessly delivered high-energy raps, dance moves, and vocals.  She is well rehearsed for sure from other clips I’ve seen, she’s maintained certain gestures/expressions when interacting with the audience and they garner the same reactions each time. I was impressed with her and even inspired. Despite giving herself a thumbs-down at the end (she revealed that her energy was low that day), she still impressed, especially during the "Gun" performance

.

Doja stuck to one outfit, emphasizing performance over fashion, a choice I respected. She does wear different outfits for each show, so if you catch clips of her on the internet it will not be a repeated outfit.  The dancers, however, rocked attention-grabbing outfits and along with her giant props, pyro, and the thumping arrangements by her band--the show wasn't full of awkward or low moments. 

Enter Scarlet, Doja's bloodied alter ego symbolizing rebirth. Scarlet made striking appearances, revealing a complex character with hints of defiance and freedom. Scarlet made many appearances throughout the night. In the beginning she appeared in a red veil before falling into the fiery red stage and Doja emerging from “hell.” As the show progressed it became more and more obvious that Scarlet wasn’t demonic. I don’t know what she is exactly aside from a side of Doja that she’s not afraid of (during the stand off in “attention”) and that she’s willing to let free (“Miss” Scarlet was shaking her a*s during the “Woman” intro). 

Compliments aside, I do wish that the video interludes had been a little more insightful into the props and the story behind Scarlet as the performances only gave us a small glimpse into the meaning of the whole era, leaving me to just speculate their meaning.

Overall, the Scarlet Tour was a memorable experience, showcasing Doja Cat's versatility and creativity.

OVERALL SCORE: 8

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On April 19th, Webster Hall was filled with “FLO Lifers” eagerly awaiting the UK girl group FLO who are currently embarking on their “FLO Live” tour. Formed 2019, FLO consists of Jorja Douglas, Renee Downer, & Stella Quaresma. The group’s style distinctly derives from R&B and Hip-Hop from the 1990’s and early 2000s. For a more in-depth analysis FLO’s sound and trajectory watch here (https://youtu.be/i18hpBoW4EU)/ <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i18hpBoW4EU" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Before FLO took the stage, Samaria, an Oakland R&B singer, opened the show. Samaria started with a simple backdrop featuring her name, keys, and drums. The audience seemed familiar with her music and if they were not, they were supportive and living in the moment. Samaria interacted with the audience well and related to them on the basis of terrible ex's and a journey through a toxic relationship. Samaria’s songs had interesting cadences, but what was  missing for us was backing vocals on the track to delineate verses from choruses. After doing some research we found that the “Out of the Way” singer has a sound also inspired by 00s R&B, with a some tracks tracks full of fun guitar licks and drum patterns reminiscent of Timbaland, but none of those instruments were present in her performance. Her backline consisted of a keyboardist and a drummer. Although Samaria sounded good, at times the keyboard’s volume was overpowering.  She worked the stage, nonetheless and  good job. 7.5 out of 10 ! ()SCORE

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CVI-FMictlA" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

https://www.instagram.com/samaria/?hl=en

samaria.lnk.to/shadyhills

Okland R&B Singer, Samaria as the opening act for FLO's tour "FLO Live." Samaria on stage singing with her band.Oakland R&B singer, Samaria performing on stage at Webster Hall as the opening act for FLO (Jorja, Renee and Stella) for their sold out "FLO Live" tour.

Next up was the much-anticipated FLO, and the girls opened with "Not My Job." They were all dressed in black with cute cutouts, and their outfits were shimmery (I love sparkle!) which was a welcome change from their wardrobe at the MOBO awards. Their faces were beat (we love a “natural glam”),

their vocals were tight, and their choreography was utilized well to highlight grooves. The chemistry between the girls was undeniable, and their vocal blend was seamless— absolutely chill-inducing. Jorja's thick vocal tone took the songs to a soulful place, and Stella's airy delivery allowed her to float at the top of the group's harmonies. Renee's smooth, warm alto voice added a coolness to their sound and gained a lot more stability in live singing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention FLO’s band! The band consisted of some past schoolmates, which added another layer of charm to the whole set!

The absolute highlight of the show was "Losing You” In this live arrangement, the girls emoted and connected with the audience on a deeper level. Chris loved harmonized adlibs, brand new bridge and extra outdo including a guitar solo.  As a special treat, FLO performed a cover of Jamelia's version of "Superstar" by Christine Militon.  Even though a majority of the NYC crowd had no clue who Jamelia was and didn't know the song, the girls did teach the chorus before singing the song, so some fans were able to follow along. Chris and I certainly knew the song and even received compliments on synchronized impromptu choreography.

Speaking of choreo…

The girls' choreography was something we were curious to see, and they did not disappoint. They danced well, and they were given grooves as opposed to sharp movements that really complemented each member's personal style. In terms of technique, they aren’t K-pop idols so we weren’t expecting crazy formations and “point dances,” but you can tell they put in the work to provide another layer of entrainment to the experience. There was even some chair-ography for their performance of "Change," a new track about a lover's inability to "do the work" necessary to improve the condition of the relationship.

The girls did perform their latest single, "Fly Girl" ft Missy Elliot, and although Missy Elliot was present in the audience, she did not join the performance.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/flolikethis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@flolikethis</a> big up to Flo out here in the states on the road working hard! Keep doing yall thizzzzle!!!🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flygirl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Flygirl</a>💇🏾‍♀️💃🏾💅🏾 <a href="https://t.co/Qtgr2f2KBl">pic.twitter.com/Qtgr2f2KBl</a></p>&mdash; Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) <a href="https://twitter.com/MissyElliott/status/1649101483621728272?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 20, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Fans (the FLO Lifers) were absolutely living their best lives! They knew all the words to FLO’s songs—the BGV's and the ad-libs. It was a room full of genuine love and screams! FLO closed the night with their debut single, "Cardboard Box," and this performance featured a heavenly bridge section.

Overall, the show was good, and for this to be the group's first headlining tour, we were impressed with the girls’ improvement from performances like the MOBO Awards, where nerves played a noticeable factor. FLO is worth the hype for sure, and we cannot wait to see the new era of girl groups being led by FLO. For their NYC debut, we rate them a 9 out of 10! FLO Lifers left Webster Hall with unforgettable memories and high expectations for FLO's future performances.