Rita Ora claimed that this final UK date of her Phoenix tour was her first foray into an arena-sized venue, but this enthusiastic Anglo-Albanian all-singing, sort-of-dancing entertainer gave the impression that she had been rehearsing for the moment her entire life.
Rita Ora, Hydro, Glasgow ***
Undoubtedly, Ora has the voice, the poses, the costumes and a modicum of the attitude required to achieve pop princess status but her material was entirely ordinary, affecting a strut without ever being truly arresting.
Unlike some of her autotuned peers, her strong, husky pop soul vocals were as natural as her appearance was primped and preened, all the better to be heard over the thunderous drums ricocheting around the hall.
The Phoenix show is mid-budget pop theatre in five loosely themed acts, which switched from angelic white to dayglo riot to gothic black, heralding the “edgy” interlude with squealing rock guitars, prowling dancers and an odd routine featuring Ora encased in a giant corset.
The message was as generic and inoffensive as the music, with the chin-up sentiments of Soul Survivor and the buoyant assurances of I Will Never Let You Down interspersed with practised words of encouragement to be who you want to be, etc, etc.
Eventually, those ever-popular themes of survival and rebirth were illustrated with a show-stealing set of phoenix wings and a closing salvo of her most energetic, celebratory dance pop hits RIP,Coming Home and Hot Right Now. - Fiona Shepherd