Ariana Grande Brings Strength and Pop Hits with "Sweetner Tour" in Chicago

Grab the 'Sweetener Tour' setlist here!

June 5, 2019
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Ariana Grande returned to Chicago's United Center on Tuesday, the first of her back-to-back two-night shows, and though it's only been a few years since she last performed on that very stage, so much has changed. 

She's no longer the same woman who was finding her place in the music industry; she's solidified her spot as a pop powerhouse whose vocal prowess is unmatched, though many have tried. 

And she uses that impressive voice to not only entertain but to spread positivity, hope and even encourage fans (dubbed the #ThankYouNextGeneration) to make a difference by signing up to vote.

The "Sweetener Tour" was a blend of her two albums, both released within five months of each other, and their influence was heavily felt from the setlist to the imagery.

Kicking things off with "God is Woman," the aesthetic of the show veered between cloudy moon spheres to more bold bubblegum pink hues that highlighted her hits "Thank U, Next" and "7 Rings."

Many of her hit singles were born from pain -- ex-boyfriend Mac Miller's death and split from fiancee Pete Davidson -- but are career-defining nonetheless.

Her recent catalog and the fact that she barely took any time to grieve when all would have understood if she sat this tour out is a testament to Ariana's strength and ability to keep on keeping on.

A quick scan around the crowd of fans donning oversized sweatshirts, suede thigh-high boots, sky-high pony's, and glowing cat ear --  a look the pop star has carefully crafted for herself -- proves just how massive Ariana's influence is.

And from the moment they entered the venue, Ariana ensured that it was a safe space for fans where they would, for a moment, "Be Alright."

The popstars former tour was overshadowed by the attacks at Manchester, and she's been vocal about the PTSD she struggles with daily when it comes to stepping onto the stage, so a strict "clear bags only" policy was almost expected. 

If you're planning on attending the second-night of her tour, do yourself a solid and leave behind all bags (even small clutches) unless they are clear. 

If you do bring a bag/backpack, you'll be asked to head over to Gate J where UC workers will give you a plastic bag in exchange for your belongings and hold them in a safely guarded space until the end of the tour. 

Be prepared for lines. 

Before the singer hit the stage, two opening acts, pop duo Social House and Normani (formerly of Fifth Harmony), kicked things off.

Normani was an especially fitting choice given her established career yet fresh solo venture. The singer, who visibly takes cues from Queen Beyonce (hello, wind machine!), is still finding her groove as a solo artist and though it was noticeable, it didn't overshadow her downright impressive performance.

She packed a lot into her 20-minute set, even proudly acknowledging her 5H roots, but there's no denying her talents; from her look to her vocal chops to her mesmerizing dance moves, she' got the makings of a pop superstar. 

 

 

SETLIST

Act 1

raindrops (an angel cried)

God is a woman

bad idea

break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored

 

Act 2

Childhood (video interlude)

R.E.M. (shortened)

Be Alright

sweetener / successful

Side to Side

bloodline

7 rings

 

Act 3

Close to You (Frank Ocean song) (video interlude)

Love Me Harder / breathin

needy

fake smile

make up

Right There / You'll Never Know / Break Your Heart Right Back

NASA

get well soon (shortened)

 

Act 4

in my head (video interlude)

everytime (shortened)

the light is coming (shortened)

Into You (shortened)

 

Act 5

My Heart Belongs to Daddy (Marilyn Monroe song) (video interlude)

Dangerous Woman

Break Free (shortened)

no tears left to cry

Encore:

thank u, next (video interlude)

thank u, next (with extended outro)