Not Your Average Rap Concert: The Scarlet Tour Proves Doja Cat’s Unmatched Versatility

Doja Cat Brings Ice Spice, Big Hits, and All the Feels During the Scarlet Tour Detroit Stop

As the crowd buzzed with anticipation, chants of “Doja” echoed through the Little Caesars Arena, awaiting Doja Cat’s emergence. Ice Spice had just killed the stage with a playful and energetic performance. Dressed in a pleated skirt that stopped just at her backside, strategically positioned for her signature twerk, Ice Spice captivated the audience with her dance moves and lyrics. Her performance featured a stylish mash-up of her hits, including “Munch,” “Deli,” “Princess Diana,” and “Barbie World”. Serving as a special opening act, she effortlessly complemented the diverse and eclectic atmosphere embraced by Doja Cat fans.

Now, enter the queen.

Doja Cat’s latest album, Scarlet, a 17-track journey of discovery and domination, promised authenticity and artistic control. Released in September of this year, Scarlet marked her fourth studio album, devoid of features and entirely self-penned Doja completely reimaged herself from the colorful weirdo she was coined as. In a way, Doja assumes the role of an ingenious scientist, crafting a project that seamlessly melds hip-hop, R&B, pop, and an eerie sense of liberation. Doja had a point to prove – She can do what she wants, and it will be impressive every time.

The Scarlet Tour, hitting one of its last stops in Detroit on December 10th, was a perfect showcase of Doja taking back the creative reins of her artistry, seamlessly presenting the intersectionality of Doja and her dark alter ego, Scarlet.

A figure draped in a sheer red cover emerges, captivating the crowd. Suddenly, the figure collapses, and darkness envelops the stage. From the floor rises Doja Cat herself – big coat, big blonde curly hair, a light blue 5G tee, white boy shorts with a rhinestone belt, and eye-catching tie-dye boot covers. The show kicks off with the ironic choice of “WYM Freestyle,” the last song on the Scarlet album. The rock’n’rap vibe of the track electrifies the audience, setting the energy for the night.

Divided into five acts, the 24-song setlist takes us through most of the Scarlet album. The setlist included “Paint the Town Red,” which received a rowdy response from the crowd, along with other album tracks that had fans in a frenzy were such as  “Demons”, which featured a giant black spider crawling on stage, “Shutcho,” “Agora Hills,” and “Ouchies.” Doja Cat also revisited albums Hot Pink and Planet Her to perform tracks including “Kiss Me More,” “Woman”, “Need to Know” and of course the chart-topping hit “Say So”.

Doja used her performances as a platform to express gratitude to the trailblazing women who helped influenced her self-painted image, with expressions like “Thank you Nicki” and a melodic nod to “Badu.” What truly impressed me about the concert was Doja’s remarkable ability to shift emotional tones seamlessly. A notable example was transitioning from the soulful “Streets” to the defiant “F— The Girls (FTG),” showcasing her adeptness at maintaining the concert’s fluidity.

Her liberating performances and bold approach to an eclectic set list infused the event with boundless energy and individuality. Despite Detroit being one of the tour’s concluding stops, Doja exhibited unwavering commitment. The synergy of her movements, flow, and vocal prowess, combined with the exceptional talents of her dance team, live band, and background singers, created a truly mesmerizing and unforgettable experience.

Even though Doja surprisingly abstained from costume changes, the show remained saturated with authentic artistic energy. From flickers of haunted houses onscreen to eerie spirits wrapped in red, the performance exuded the spine-chilling essence of Scarlet through vivid aesthetics. My favorite aspects included the giant spider, a huge bloody eyeball, and a demonic dancer, each hauntingly complementing her throughout the show.

The remarkable setlist and the innovative reinterpretation of classics acted as a testament to Doja’s ever-evolving style. When thinking of headlining acts, it can be easy for artists to be overshadowed by elaborate fanfare and props, yet Doja radiated the irresistible confidence of a seasoned performer. The Scarlet Tour felt like a grand unveiling, serving as a visually perfect representation of her current position in her career. Yes, the insane rollout campaign was worth all the hype.

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