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(Photos by Mikaela Prien)

The Capital One Arena Sam Smith – The Gloria Tour started with the amazingly refreshing Japanese African American vocalist UMI from Seattle, Washington. She greeted the Washington, DC audience on Friday, August 4, 2023, with a variety of meditation, breathing exercises, and playing on a singing bowl before her musical set. I found her demeanor so pleasantly healing and relaxing that once she started singing from her debut album Forest in the City…singles like “Sorry,” “Moonlit Room” and especially the anthem-like “Whatever U Like” I was hooked to being a universal UMI fan. She stated that this was her first arena performance, but I felt like this will definitely not be her last.


Next up was unveiling of the gigantic golden goddess statue of Aphrodite with British Pop Sensation Sam Smith wearing an elaborate bejeweled corset over a white collared shirt with black tie and slacks. Smith’s sultry voice belting out “Stay With Me” as it seemed like everyone at Capitol One Arena was singing his lyrics back to him. The tour show experience was divided up into three exciting themed sections around love, beauty, and sex. The backup dancers performed playful foreplay dance moves around every inch on stage.

My favorite moments of Smith’s Beauty second act was the costume change of a stunning sequin ball gown and stating to the audience, “It really hit me that one of the things I love about what I do is getting to spend every single night on stage and backstage. And so I promised myself that if I got to tour again I’d use this time and chance to share with you some of the great talents that have been around me for many years.”

Thus a dynamic singing of “Lay Me Down” with backup vocalist LaDonna Harley-Peters. I love how beautiful Smith is so open and humble to share the stage with such an extensively talented cast of professionals. Then Sam Smith wore Capitals’ jersey heating up the stage to Donna Summer’s song “I Feel Love,” where it seemed like the Arena transformed into a hot club sexy dance party.



The final act featured songs like the choral delightfulness of “Gloria,” a cover of Madonna’s “Human Nature,” and the naughty hit single “Unholy” with Smith wearing fishnet stockings, thigh high boots, horns and a pitchfork. Definitely a climax of musical pleasure only Sam Smith can deliver!

Rating: A (Definitely one of the hottest 2023 summer concerts)

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