Photo by Sean Chin

Ariana Grande celebrated her 26th birthday on the 26th in the 6. Her champagne Toronto birthday was celebrated along with her family, some close friends and an arena full of fans ready to help celebrate with lungs of power ready to go.

Returning to town for a second visit on her Sweetener tour, Grande was last at Scotiabank Arena in April for a sold out show. And she sold it out again and delivered a high energy 1 hour and 45 minute show that focused on the her two most recent albums released within the last year, Sweetener and Thank U, Next.

Now I’m almost twice Grande’s age and I’m well aware of how out of place I looked, but once those light went down, Miss Grande made us all feel welcome. Opening with vocal-showcaser “Raindrops (An Angel Cried)” and “God Is A Woman”, the crowd wasted no time leaping to their fee and singing every word back to the birthday girl.

Grande had a band tucked in the back two corners of the stage, alone with a dozen or so dancers that followed her around the stage and its oval runway that divided the floor into a small pit. The dancers stopped the show early to address the elephant in the room which was wishing Ariana a happy birthday. The crew gathered on stage, along with Grande’s family and some friends leading the packed house through “Happy Birthday”, complete with cake that I got not one piece of, before returning to normal proceedings with “7 Rings”.

Her light show was fantastic, something a Pink Floyd fan would have dug but I did find the sound a bit muddied in the arena, my only complaint of the night.

Cake denial aside, Grande and her posse delivered the aural equivalent with spirited runs through “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored”, “Into You”, “Dangerous Woman”, a molten “Break Free” and “No Tears Left to Cry” before closing the night off with “Thank U, Next”.

I’ll admit I went in last night a bit wet behind the ears, but curious as to what kind of show Grande would put on, and I was impressed. She showcased some seriously powerful vocals, seemed comfortable working the entire stage tirelessly and delivered a feel good dance party for everyone gathered. Long may she roam.