Article by Stephanie Escobar
This has been one of Dua Lipa’s busiest years within the music industry, including being very successful. She released her critically acclaimed sophomore album “Future Nostalgia”, and had several successful collaborations throughout the rest of 2020. The week prior she received six Grammy nominations in some of the biggest categories for the 63rd Grammy Awards. This two-time Grammy winner might just add some more early next year.
With all this success her album had gotten, the future of her tour looked bleak as a worldwide pandemic hit and got postponed to 2021. This is a reality for many artists as touring is put at a pause for now. Yet, the show must go on, but from the safety of our homes.
Lipa had unveiled “Studio 2054” in late October, an exclusive live stream experience for fans to experience “Future Nostalgia” live. Not much was revealed about what to expect, other than an impressive guest list with some of her collaborators, and an elaborate night filled with music, mayhem, performance theatre, dance, and much more.
This pay-per-view event gave access to exclusive merch and the live stream. A VIP access ticket included a behind the scenes look at the preparation for “Studio 2054”, the live-streamed show, and a post-show DJ set by the one and only, the Blessed Madonna.
Shot live in a massive warehouse location “Studio 2054” was a celebration of the past, present, and future. Throughout the night we saw Lipa move through custom-built sets; surreal tv shows, roller discos, ecstatic raves, rocker hangouts, skaters, aerialists, and acrobats. The show gave off a very low-tech vibe as if it was something that was shot in the ’80s or ’90s. It kept up with the motifs Lipa introduced in her Grammy-nominated “Future Nostalgia” album.
The live stream opened with the album’s title song “Future Nostalgia” and Lipa emerged from a dense fog in a silver frilled mini gown surrounded by a group of dancers ready to boogie with her and an actual live band. Throughout the night these dancers were seen around Lipa, choreographed to perfection in some of her sets, but ultimately having formations that made it appear to be just a normal night out at a dimly lit dance club.
The opening act continued straight into “Levitating” which included an impressive and sultry guitar solo, and an addictive bassline that rang through “Pretty Please”. Lipa broke off from her crew for a costume change and now sported a dark sparkly leotard for “Break My Heart” which led into an interlude featuring FKA Twigs. She worked the pole and sang as Lipa joined her to tease their upcoming collab.
As Act 2 started, we were transported to a mini nightclub where we got a fist-pumping set for “Physical” filled with booty shaking among Lipa and her dancers. Lipa jammed alongside the Blessed Madonna in her DJ booth as she played the remixed version of “Boys will be Boys” and moved through the warehouse to perform her classic “New Rules”.
Her list of guest soon got underway as she entered an elegant bordello like “dressing room” and watched herself and Miley Cyrus duet on “Prisoner”. The analog black and white TV showcased both Lipa and Cyrus cozying up to one another and being extra flirtatious. Her next collab “Un Dia” started with Lipa singing in the flesh, but J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Tainy flashed through the analog TV to remotely groove and sing their verses. The first in-person guest, Angèle appeared in the dressing room performing “Fever” in a little less steamy environment that Lipa shared with Cyrus earlier.
The scene changed once again as Lipa continued her journey through Studio 2054, and made her away to a dark disco where she was met with Kylie Minogue. They performed an electric version of “Real Groove” and Lipa’s “Electricity” filled with dancing and taking us to the present day as the dancers jerked, and twerked. There was a sudden change in mood as Lipa disappeared and Elton John emerged on a jumbo screen. He sang “Rocket Man” as some of Lipa’s cast of dancers stood motionless. Almost giving as a break to let our racing hearts slow down a bit.
For the finale of the show, Lipa shows up in a bedazzled bodysuit that reminded me of the suits from Tron but add a little bit of spice and make it fashion. She performed “Hallucinate” and ended the night with her show stopper “Don’t Start Now”. Her crew of dancers danced the night away as Lipa let out a belting “Yeaaaahhh!” and the camera panned far out to reveal a vastness of space.
Studio 2054 was a kaleidoscope event of real-time and imagination. An unconventional yet unique way to celebrate music and a whole new way to enjoy a performance. It delivered a euphoric blast of happiness and nostalgia. A little break from the chaos in the world, so thank you, Dua, for the serotonin.
Listen to “Future Nostalgia” here.