Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Bianca Barrett

Rita_Ora_9

The crowd were getting excited as Birmingham Arena fell into darkness, it was time for girl group Four of Diamonds to work the crowd into a frenzy. With choreographed routines likened to All Saints and the individual sass of female pioneers of the UK music scene like Rita and Mabel, they worked the crowd with their soulful mix of pop and R&B ditties. The girl group originally formed on 2016’s X Factor have gone from strength to strength since finishing 8th on the TV show. Tonight they play band mate Sophia’s hometown and they wowed the audience with hits like ‘Blind’, debut ‘Name On It’ and latest offering the extremely funky ‘Walk Away’, these talented ladies raised the temperature.

Four_of_Diamonds_1

Four_of_Diamonds_2

Next up to keep the Brummies entertained Moss Kena appeared, dressed casually in white tee and black jeans he kept the crowd moving as he appeared on stage against clouds of green strobes. His soulful tones captivated the mixed crowd as he performed with his three-piece band. “I’m having such a good time Birmingham” he told his adoring audience as he introduced his cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “These Walls”, ”I hung out with him a few times and he helped me get where I am today” speaking highly of the US sensation. The short but sweet setlist ended with “Be Mine” as the British singer songwriter’s silky tones flowed through the venue, with it’s catchy chorus and old school sounds the crowd clapped excitedly along. Kena left to claps and cheers and the fans wanting more, he is one to watch over the coming months.

Moss_Kena_1

A round of Mexican waves kept the crowd entertained as they waited patiently for their idol to hit the symbol shaped stage that snaked into the crowd.

What an amazing past 12 months it has been for Rita Ora, with ‘Phoenix’ marking her first solo album release in five years, the album has received numerous nominations and won awards even though it was only released in the latter half of 2018. ‘For You’ was one of the biggest hits of the year, not a day went by when you didn’t hear it at least three times on the radio, a headline slot at Manchester Pride and returning to the screen as Mia in the 50 Shades film series and just when you thought there was no end to the singer songwriter’s talents she transforms into Dr. Ann Laurent for Pokémon Detective Pikachu with latest offering ‘Carry On’ featuring on the soundtrack, appealing to a whole new set of fans. Not forgetting to mention numerous charity work and an announcement to appear for Soccer Aid this summer, it’s so easy to see why people love her.

Rita_Ora_10

Rita_Ora_8

Pyrotechnics and flashing cubes sent the crowd into a joyous celebration as Shaolin style dancers graced the stage, like the phoenix on the LCD display behind the stunning starlet rose onto the stage. Her ombre curls flowerd as she dazzled from stage in a floaty white gown encrusted with sparkling jewels, the sultry sounds of ‘Your Song’ moved melodically through the night.

“Hello Birmingham, let’s get out of our zone and do it like we want to and make it a good one tonight” she told the crowd as the party took, them eagerly waving their hands in the air and jumping up and down as she belted out the upbeat fan favourite ‘Doing It’.

Rita_Ora_2

Rita_Ora_11

“Wow there is so many of you out here tonight, thank you for coming out” Rita purred as the ecstatic crowd went wild, beaming as her eyes glistened Rita looked to be enjoying the performance as much as her devoted audience. Fantastic bright neon graphics adorned the huge screens, combined with amazing choreography from the dance troupe. The Kosovar born singer bouncing around the stage and the crowd loved every single bit.

With five outfit changes through the energetic night, from sparkly body suits and huge phoenix wings the crowd were treated to a non-stop party that ended Saturday’s Pride celebrations perfectly. Her voice was crystal as her vocal ability shone from upbeat tracks like ‘Girls’ and ‘Hot Right Now’ to the stripped back ‘Soul Survivor’ that she described emotionally as one of most vulnerable songs on the new album. the biggest reactions of the night undoubtedly were ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Black Widow’ the crowd erupted frantically bouncing around as the evening came to a close with something for everyone, from young to old the crowd looked on elated.

Rita_Ora_1

Rita_Ora_3

Appearing for the encore of ‘Lonely Together’ and ‘Anywhere’ the singing starlet once again rose high above the crowd sending the audience wild as pink petal confetti dropped from the arena ceiling, with smiles all around and each tour going a step further than the last, we can’t wait for what else this superstar has to offer in the future.

Setlist:
Your Song

Doing It (Charli XCX cover)
Only Want You
Summer Love
New Look
Girls
Let You Love Me
Hell of a Life
Cashmere
Body on Me
Soul Survivor
I Will Never Let You Down
She Rose Again
R.I.P.
Keep Talking
Black Widow (Iggy Azalea cover)
Carry On
Coming Home (Sigma cover)
Hot Right Now (DJ Fresh cover)
Encore:
Lonely Together (Avicii cover)
Anywhere

Rita_Ora_5

Rita_Ora_12

Leave a Reply