Sam Smith on stage at Dickies Arena (Rich Lopez/DV)

Sam Smith brought their Gloria Tour to Fort Worth Thursday night. The Grammy and Oscar-winning headlined Dickies Arena to a robust audience filled with a healthy spectrum of queer-spectrum folks, date night hetero couples, parents with younger children and a large amount of suburban real housewives type all out for a good time. With moody beats and lewks served, Smith fulfilled that for their fans. 

Opener and oft-Smith-collaborator Jessie Reyez opened the show. Looking like 19, the 32-year-old delivered a power-packed opening set with a number of her own fans singing (and screaming) along to her every song. With that, she doesn’t yet have the stage presence to be commanding, but she was working hard to perform to the floor audience as well as those flanking both sides of the stage. She was all about female empowerment with a fuck-off attitude and her audience ate it up. 

With a grand recumbent golden statue of Aphrodite dominating the stage, Smith appeared atop her body to open the show with his ballad “Stay With Me.” Although received with massive roars and enthusiasm, the chill opening set the tone for a night that was filled with sexy dancing, elaborate and ornate costumes, lush lighting and same-sex kissing. Thank goodness SB 12 is blocked at the moment. 

Smith first came out with a corset that blossomed into a chandelier with sparkling platforms. From that moment on, Smith would deliver iconic look after look throughout the night from a flowery ballgown, their massively fluffy pink robe, lacy puffy shirts, the obligatory cowboy denim outfit and a casual jeans and tee look before stripping off their shirt for a moment of choreography with their dancers. 

Smith seemed genuinely happy to be back onstage and mentioned about getting back on the road after the pandemic. They were all smiles to the audience waving and blowing kisses in between lyrics. Smith was sincerely darling the whole time never relying on diva posturing. 

They also gave props to the team both onstage and behind the stage which showcased another layer of sentimentality. Spotlights on the players and backup singers felt real with cameras giving them all screen time on the displays on each side of the stage. 

That didn’t take away from Smith’s voice which hit all the notes their fans are familiar with on their recordings. Smith delivered all the hits but without rush or pomp. Songs eased into each other rather than feeling like a checklist of their greatest hits so far. The numbers ranged from duets with Reyez on “Perfect” and “Gimme” and with backup singer Lucy to full-fledged dance numbers such as “I’m Not Here to Make Friends.”  The night ended with their cover of Madonna’s “Human Behavior and the landmark Grammy-winning “Unholy” which ended the final and darker chapter of the night compared to the more ebullient playlist prior.

Smith talked about the importance of freedom and celebration, but never tied it to queerness. Perhaps they left that to the songs and the outfits. Smith serving looks wasn’t surprising, but in person, there was a power behind it and the audience roared for the fashions as much as the songs. That power expanded to their stripped down dance for “I Feel Love.” The freedom they expressed without the restraint and without carved abs was glorious to watch clearly living up to their latest release. 

–Rich Lopez