I like musicians who disappear into their performance, motionless except for a few sways behind a mic stand. I even appreciate the David Archuleta, “close your eyes the whole way through” approach. But I love an act with a good stage presence. Last night at the Palace, I was floored when Haim and Lizzo — performing the penultimate show of the Sister Sister Sister Tour — vaulted into the mix of the most captivating live acts I’ve ever seen. Here’s how they pulled it off.
Comedy: If you’re seeing a Haim show, you’re going to laugh. The sisters will bicker — often about birth order, as Alana insists that “the little sisters and brothers [are] always right,” and Este protests, “Older siblings pave the way! I put Dirty Mind in your Walkman.” When Este isn’t proving that eldest sisters are the coolest, she’ll pick up her bass and make the same cartoonish faces as comedian Kelsey Kinney. At some point, Haim will draw close for a synchronized dance routine, which will only look stylish because they’re so cool.
If you’re seeing a Lizzo show, you’ll laugh at her loud, goofy banter. “I’m busting open,” she might crack, pointing to the thigh seams of her trussed-up bodysuit. “Is there another Minnesota Viking that’s single? I need another one,” she could ask after “Truth Hurts.”
Pizzazz: Haim’s light show amped up the spectacle at the Palace. Spotlights beamed down on each sister as they opened and closed the show with drum jams. The stage went dark between each song, all the better to dazzle when the music started.
Lizzo’s posse reinforced her flair. The Big GRRRLS, aka dancers Courtney Hollinquest and Grace Holden, flanked her and rolled out bouncy choreography. From her podium, DJ/background vocalist Sophia Eris announced Lizzo’s DNA results (“You are one hundred percent that bitch”) and handed down a bottle of Patrón during “Good As Hell” lyric “I got a bottle of tequila I’ve been saving for you.”
Musical chops: No hyperbole: Haim played like rock gods. Alana posed in profile, facing the drums and raising her mallets high above her head. Danielle ripped guitar solos from opener “Falling” to set closer “The Wire.” Este two-stepped while plucking and slapping her bass.
Although her newer songs (“Fitness” and “Truth Hurts,” in particular) are more for the club than the headphones, Lizzo can sing. She showed off her gospel background by belting parts of “Worship” and “Good As Hell.”
Local tales: Lizzo spent a handful of years in Minnesota, growing her sound and collaborating with Lazerbeak (Doomtree), Ryan Olson (Poliça), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) before she moved to Los Angeles. Remembering the Chalice, her group with Sophia Eris and Claire de Lune, she said, “I’m still that twerkin’, rachet-ass bitch from the Chalice…just with cuter outfits.” She mentioned Market BBQ, the Loring Park spot where a thief inspired the song “Phone.” And she shouted out Prince, whom she considers a self-love pioneer.
Haim haven’t spent much time in the Twin Cities, but they did enjoy their Sunday night at the CC Club in Uptown. “I was drunk when I got there,” Alana said. “I was wasted when I left.” In between, she played a game of pool versus a few CC stalwarts — and when she broke, four balls rolled into the pockets. “I never had to battle for a pool table before,” she said, laughing. “I had the best night of my life.”
Haim also mentioned our purple hero. Wearing a Parade-era Prince and the Revolution tee, Este tried not to cry as she talked about visiting Paisley Park the day beforehand. “It was literally a religious experience,” she said. “I grew up worshiping him and his band. I knew I wanted to do this when I watched him play…and here I am now.”
Crowd participation: Lizzo makes the crowd a part of her show. While introducing a new song about a “scrub” named Jerome, she led TLC fans in an impromptu version of “No Scrubs,” beaming at how many people knew the song. She encouraged everyone to toss their hair and check their nails during “Good As Hell.” When she demanded, “What percent that bitch am I?” – referencing her single “Truth Hurts” – a chorus yelled, “One hundred!”
Haim’s crowd participation mostly entailed sweet sing-alongs. “Little of Your Love” and “Right Now,” in particular, rang out.
Wardrobe: Let’s just say every single person on stage (except maybe Haim’s background keyboardist and drummer – I couldn’t get a glimpse of their outfits) wore pleather.
As many Twin Cities fans know, Lizzo has an attitude – one of body positivity, personal prerogative, and fabulous self-love. So when she received emphatic, encore-length applause after her first song “Fitness,” she maintained her pose and swiveled from side to side, smiling and accepting every last clap of adoration. And that just made us cheer harder.
Haim are a bit more goofy, but they also carry themselves with confidence. They know how well they pull off the dorky sisters act, and they know how well they can perform. They totally sell their quirks.
What I’m saying is that both acts own who they are, which is a stunning take-away from such an impressive night of music. You can be who you are — and if you can be a ticketholder to tonight’s second Haim/Lizzo Palace show, more power to you.
Lizzo set list:
Jerome (unreleased song)
Good As Hell
Haim set list:
Don’t Save Me
Little of Your Love
My Song 5
Ready For You
You Never Knew
Want You Back
Something to Tell You
Found It in Silence
All photos by Emmet Kowler for MPR.