Ariana Grande Breaks “Free” on ‘The Honeymoon Tour’

Mandalay Bay Events Center, August 29


Photo by Myron Hensel

Pop concerts often seek to create giant spectacles to supplement what are already huge tunes, and as a result, the music is lost in translation. Ariana Grande’s grandiose performance overcame this obstacle by incorporating both style and substance. The 22-year-old television star-turned-pop diva performed her powerful numbers arena-sized, backed by a full band with backup dancers and pyrotechnics—but as she demonstrated with a piano rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” she would’ve held her own without the bells and whistles. Grande effortlessly covered the vocal range of “The Way,” and her burly soprano tone reverberated throughout the arena during “Honeymoon Avenue.” She even channeled ’90s R&B greats Janet Jackson and Aaliyah by singing and dancing alongside her dancers during “Be My Baby” and the Zedd-produced “Break Free.” And she literally shined: During “Right There,” Grande entered the stage wearing a bedazzled dress, heels and her signature cat ears while by riding on an extravagant chandelier that dropped from the ceiling. She even sang into a rhinestone-encrusted microphone. Not bad for an ex-Nickelodeon star.

The fancy gear and production came secondary to her vocals in the stripped down, piano-heavy numbers “Tattooed Heart” and “My Everything.” “‘Cause what we got is worth fighting for / You are my everything,” she sang. That night, we were hers. ★★★★★

Bang Bang (Jesse J cover)
Hands On Me
Best Mistake
Break Your Heart Right Back
I’m Every Woman/Vogue
Be My Baby
Right There
The Way
Pink Champagne
Tattooed Heart
One Last Time
Why Try
My Everything
Lovin’ It
Love Me Harder
All My Love (Major Lazer cover)
Honeymoon Avenue
Break Free


Photos by Myron Hensel.

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