SZA Blue Stage, Union Park, Chicago IL, July 18

SZA Blue Stage, Union Park, Chicago IL, July 18
Photo: Ellie Pritts
SZA came onstage beaming, throwing herself into her performance despite momentary sound issues. After some feedback, the effects on her microphone made her sound just a hint distant, but she made up for it with endless charisma, introducing herself to the crowd and noting the smell of weed. The St. Louis native was happy to be back in the Midwest, and it showed.

"UR," the opening track from Z, was an early highlight, as her band — a bassist/keyboard, drummer and keyboardist — settled in just in time for an absorbing "Child's Play." SZA shouted out Kendrick Lamar, suggesting she might play "Babylon" but then started into "Warm Winds." Her personal favourite, she told us, was "HiiiJack," but a neat little band breakdown near the middle of "Show Me the Way" and the funky "Sweet November" were highlights. The latter, especially, was a crowd favourite; the crowd cheered when she mentioned that she hadn't played that song or "Aftermath" yet, so she closed with both.

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