Neo-soul singer SZA stole the show opening night of Coachella as a massive crowd gathered to sing along with the songstress. SZA’s set started 20 minutes later than scheduled, causing her to drop a few songs from the close of performance. Nonetheless, her 11-song set kept fans singing in unison to every word.
“What the fuck is good, Coachella?” SZA shouted at the top of her set.
SZA spent her second-ever Coachella performance with a set designed after a sleep-away camp her parents sent her to as a child. She explained to the crowd that she was the only black girl at the camp, but it was something that never dawned on her until later in life.
“If you’ve ever been to sleep away camp, you know how awkward it can be to walk into a cabin full of strangers and stand in your truth,” SZA told the audience.
This inclusion was something she was thankful for and she said she wanted to share those days with the audience. The setup featured several trees, a camper trailer, and what looked like a child’s drawing of SZA when she was younger.
SZA began her set in an all denim jumpsuit with the pink top exposed as she belted out “Supermodel.” As she worked her way into “Go Gina,” the screens filled with scenes from 90s sitcom. Old clips of Tisha Campbell-Martin who played Gina on the sitcom Martin played behind the singer.
The other famous face to grace SZA’s screen was Drew Barrymore. For the five-minute rendition of SZA’s song titled “Drew Barrymore,” the crowd watched the E.T. actress’ career unfold on the big screen.
SZA led into the song by describing its inspiration which stemmed from being ignored by a man at a house party. The night of the house party, SZA says she smoked an ounce of weed to deal with the rejection, adding that the audience should do things for themselves not others.
“I was not allowed to smoke before this,” SZA said of her pre-performance activities. “I need you guys to transfer all of your energy to me.”
The R&B artist crooned through several more songs such as “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” and a cover of Rihanna’s “Consideration,” before breaking out the guest stars.
After her Rihanna cover, SZA stressed the importance of family. The singer proudly stated that she was from the Top Dawg Entertainment family that helped her reach this point of success in her career.
To show her appreciation, SZA invited Top Dawg labelmate Isaiah Rashad to sing on “Pretty Little Birds.” During “Pretty Little Birds,” trampolines were brought out for SZA. The R&B singer jumped giving the audience further back the chance to see her decked out in pink ruffled two-piece.
Two songs later, SZA welcomed Trippie Redd for a rendition of “Dark Knight Dummo,” before bringing out the biggest act of the night.
Top Dawg Entertainment labelmate Kendrick Lamar joined SZA on stage for the final songs of her set. The two duetted to two songs: “Doves in the Air” off of SZA’s debut album Ctrl and Black Panther soundtrack collaboration “All the Stars.”
His performance with SZA marked the second appearance for Lamar at this year’s festival, after he played earlier in the day with rapper Vince Staples.
The Top Dawg Entertainment duo closed out the set with SZA promising to play a longer set for weekend two of the festival.
“Yo they cut my songs. I’m sorry. But I will make it up to you next week,” SZA said before the lights abruptly went down and the crowd cheered her good-bye.
For live Coachella coverage, head to the YouTube which is streaming the festival all weekend long.
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