Sam Smith in Zurich - 16 May 2023

English singer-songwriter Sam Smith released their most recent album «Gloria» in January 2023. Taking the album on the road, Smith launched «Gloria The Tour» in April 2023, with a stop at the Hallenstadion in Zurich for a near sold-out show.





Cat Burns

Support act Cat Burns kicked off the concert. I was immediately charmed by her friendliness. She interacted with the crowd as if they were friends and generally set up a welcoming atmosphere that continued throughout the entire show. She waved back at anyone who she saw waving at her. The little intros that Burns gave to each song were sweet and provided the audience with a good insight into the kind of artist she is. Burns was a great opening act, giving the evening a fresh and grounded start.













Sam Smith

As soon as Sam Smith stepped onto the stage, the crowd went wild. The screams of excitement were almost deafening. Smith walked on in a breathtaking gold-and-white outfit, after a show dancer had unveiled a massive golden statue of the goddess Aphrodite on her side, which added three levels to the stage. One can only image how long it must have taken to assemble.

The show was divided into three sections: «Love», «Beauty» and «Sex». Each section was introduced with a poem and some amazing visuals. For me, the overall theme was: learn to love yourself and others, even if it is difficult. In my opinion, the concert presented this in a truly entertaining way, and I hope it gave more people the confidence to confront and overcome whatever obstacles they may have in this part of their lives.













The order of the songs was masterfully done, each one transitioning beautifully to the next. The songs all fit the themes of their section, and they all had something to add to the overall feel of the concert. The tracks ranged from slow ballads («Stay With Me», «Too Good At Goodbyes») to club music («Promises») and even songs with elements of rock and metal in them.

A whole cast of artists joined the show. There were backup singers and dancers as well as Smith's band on guitar, bass, piano and drums. Some songs started with incredible instrumental solos that blew me away. Others featured wonderful vocals from the backup singers. The dancers also added more depth to the story of the songs whenever they appeared.













But of course it was Smith's voice that shone the brightest: it is such an exquisite instrument that you could hear a pin drop during songs like Des’ree cover «I'm Kissing You». And this in an arena with thousands of people. This and other cover songs were expertly done, and you could hear Smith's unique influence in them.The majority of the setlist was Smith's own songs, however, from the delicate «Lay Me Down» and «Love Goes» to the new album's title track «Gloria».

The concert's presentation was extravagant and featured some amazing outfits. Sam Smith definitely had the most striking outfits and also some of my favourites, but every person on that stage looked fabulous. Personally, I loved Smith's flowing purple dress with a hat that spelled «queer», as well as their devil outfit during «Unholy».













The special effects and lights were impactful, but not overdone. They complemented the songs and made the concert even more immersive. The lightshow in Donna Summer's «I Feel Love» was the most impressive one; it would have looked right at home at an electronica festival. The fire and pyrotechnics on stage during «Unholy» added to the hellish aesthetic of the song.

If you take away all these layers, the heart of the show was Sam Smith, and they were a force to be reckoned with. The fact that they could pull off such a variety of songs really speaks to their talent. Smith's stage presence was powerful. I could feel how much the crowd loved the singer, and that Smith loved them back. Smith's kindness and genuine appreciation of the audience nurtured the atmosphere the whole evening.













The concert was entertaining from start to finish. You could see and experience all the work and love that was put in by everyone, from Sam Smith to every artist who joined them on stage. I had a great time. It definitely wasn't an all-ages family show, because it handled sex, relationships and body image – but it did so in a captivating way. Most beautiful of all, the concert was unapologetically inclusive, cementing Sam Smith's standing as an LGBTQIA+ icon.

- Gio Giuliano  


Promoter: Gadget


Photos of Cat Burns are here.

Photos of Sam Smith are here.