SZA is soon set to touch-down on UK soil, and she’s coming to visit us here in Manchester for the first stop on her major tour.
It’s been a good few years since SZA’s hit the road, but 2023 is the year that sees the powerhouse US singer-songwriter – real name Solána Imani Rowe – head out on tour to celebrate her second studio album, SOS, which was released to critical acclaim last December, and shot to the top of the albums chart in America and reached number two here in the UK.
It came five years after the release of her debut album Ctrl, which went on to sell over five million copies worldwide.
As well as selling millions of records, and claiming her first number one single with ‘Kill Bill’ earlier this year, SZA has also scooped up masses of awards – including a Grammy, two MTV VMAs, and two Billboard Music Awards, as well as an Oscar nomination for ‘All The Stars’ with Kendrick Lamar.
Not only is SZA one of the most respected artists among her peers, and one of the most loved by critics within the music industry, but she also has a loyal fan base supporting her every step of the way, and tens of thousands of those fans will get to see her sing the hits live as she takes to the stage here in Manchester.
Heading to see SZA at the AO Arena? Here’s everything you need to know.
When is SZA playing in Manchester?
Manchester is just one of three UK cities that SZA has chosen for the European leg of her S.O.S tour – with the singer also set to perform up in the Scottish capital of Glasgow later this week, before performing two night’s at London’s O2 Arena shortly after.
She will take to the stage here in Manchester on Tuesday 13 June.
With the AO Arena having a maximum gig capacity of 21,000, fans in their thousands are expected to travel to our city from far and wide to see SZA in a rare live UK appearance.
Are there any tickets still available?
Given that SZA isn’t known for heading out on tour very often, especially not here in the UK, tickets to see her in Manchester were in pretty high demand when they first went on sale back in April – but now, it does seem like there are some still available if you’re looking to grab yourself one.
At the time of writing, a quick search on Ticketmaster shows both standing and seating tickets available, however they are a little pricer than when they first went on sale – with seated tickets starting at £98, and floor standing at £181.
As always, if you try to buy tickets second-hand, please make sure you’re using a reputable resale site so you don’t get caught out by scammers.
Who is supporting SZA in Manchester?
If getting to see SZA live wasn’t enough, fans who head to the AO Arena a little earlier are also in for a real treat when it comes to the support act, as one of the UK’s fastest-rising music names is also taking to the stage in Manchester.
Raye – real name Rachael Keen – is a British singer-songwriter who initially rose to prominence after being featured on a number of commercially-successful singles, including ‘By Your Side’, ‘You Don’t Know Me’, ‘Secrets’, and ‘Bed’ – but in 2022, she decided to step out on her own to properly make a name for herself.
The 25-year-old received further recognition as a solo artist after her single ‘Escapism’ reached the top of the UK Singles Chart, and also became her first song to chart in the US.
She released her debut studio album, My 21st Century Blues, to critical acclaim back in February.
What’s the potential setlist?
We all know artists tend to switch up their setlists from gig to gig and throw in a few surprises here and there, depending on the energy of the crowd and what they’re feeling that night, but it does seem like SZA has roughly been following a particular order of songs since her 2023 European tour began earlier this month.
Although everything is subject to change, and it’s always best to keep your eye on the venue’s official messaging on the day of the event to get the latest stage times, the AO Arena has confirmed that doors will be opening at 6pm for the SZA gig on Tuesday 13 June.
Raye is expected to perform from 7:30pm, before a short interval follows, and SZA then takes to the stage any time before 9pm.
Peter Hook is hosting a charity gig and Q&A at an iconic Manchester pub to raise money for mental health
Joy Division and New Order co-founder, Peter Hook, is taking part in a charitable evening of live music and conversation right here in Manchester city centre early next year, and it’s being hosted at one of Manchester’s most beloved pubs, the Star and Garter.
Being held at the legendary city centre pub, which now bears the freshly restored mural of his former bandmate and one of the greatest English musicians of all time, Ian Curtis, the significance of the intimate concert being held at such an iconic music venue is not lost on anyone.
Better still, the special one-off gig, Q&A session and evening as a whole has been set up with the help of local music-driven mental health organisation, Headstock, and will be raising money for their partnered nationwide charity, Shout.
Announcing the gig on Monday, 4 December, the veteran vocalist, bass player and singer-songwriter said of the inspirational fundraising gig, which will also pay tribute to Curtis: “I have campaigned for a long time for Ian and Joy Division to be commemorated anyway and anywhere possible.
“From the statue in Macclesfield, still ongoing, and the mural there as well; to the mural in Manchester and the upcoming one in Stockport. I will only rest when every town in Great Britain has something.
“I am immensely proud of Ian and our work as Joy Division and to celebrate it in this way is such a pleasure. I am hoping to bring Ian’s best man at his wedding and childhood friend, Kelvin Briggs to join me so fans can get a real insight into this wonderful man and artist.
“To play at such an iconic venue as the Star and Garter just seals the deal perfectly.”
Speaking on the event, Headstock founder Atheer Al-Salim said, “We are so grateful to Peter Hook and his band who are giving up their time and talent to help us raise much-needed funds to support our charity partner, Shout, and their life-saving text-support service.
“The evening promises to be a poignant moment for Manchester, and an event of huge musical and cultural significance for the city.”
As for Shout, their CEO Victoria Hornby added: “We’re incredibly grateful to Peter Hook and The Light and Headstock for putting on this very special event which will raise vital funds for us to keep the Shout text messaging support service running 24/7.
“Our volunteers take up to 2,000 conversations with children, young people and adults in urgent need of mental health support every day, and every £10 raised funds a conversation that could save a life.”
Tickets will be allocated via a ballot on Skiddle, with the first ballot already open and will close on Friday, 2 February 2024. Each successful ballot entrant will be allocated a maximum of two tickets to the event.
The pricing for ‘An Evening of Music and Conversation with Peter Hook’ on 12 April, 2024 is as follows:
1x ballot entry – £10
3x ballot entries – £15
10x ballot entries – £20
The gig is already selling fast, so secure your spot to see an unforgettable night of music and insight, all for a great cause, HERE.