Doja Cat and Ice Spice brought down the house at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (review)

To the people who thought Doja Cat should’ve been an opener, to the people who accused her of not being a rapper, Doja Cat opened up the Barclays Center stop of The Scarlet Tour with a ‘fuck you.’ She took the stage by herself in a getup that pushed androgyny to its limits, with short hair, an open jacket, a nude body suit, and baggy cargo pant legs that took typical ideas of feminity and masculinity and smashed them together. Then she grabbed a mic that hung down from the ceiling and went into “WYM Freestyle,” the freestyle that closes her new 17-song album Scarlet. It was a packed arena in Brooklyn, Doja was rapping her ass off, and she already had the screaming crowd in the palms of her hands. Consider her critics silenced.

Doja split her show into five acts, and for the first act, she primarily stayed in hard-edged rap territory, with three other tracks from Scarlet and an especially menacing rendition of her 2019 Rico Nasty collab “Tia Tamera.” She was backed by live musicians, backup singers, and a DJ, and she had dancers and pyro that made for an artistic spectacle as Doja gave it her all. On every level–sonically, visually, energy-wise, setlist-wise–this show was a winner with nary a dull moment.

As much as she proved herself (for the upteenth time) as a rapper, she also played a very solid selection of her poppier songs. Planet Her highlights “Woman,” “Ain’t Shit,” “Get Into It (Yuh),” “Need To Know,” and “Kiss Me More” were all huge standouts, as was her Latin funk-tinged rework of “Say So.” She’s a great singer and a great rapper, and–despite telling the crowd near the end of the set that she had been sick for the entire show–she really put on a performance to remember.

photo by Jamie Smith

Doja Cat alone would’ve been enough to make this concert one for the books, but it was made even better by the opening set from Ice Spice. Opening an arena show can often be a tossup–even if you’re rapidly rising on your own, sometimes it’s still hard to break through to a crowd who’s getting their snacks and drinks and finding their seats. But Ice Spice had people running as far up as security would allow them and screaming at the tops of their lungs. Opening this tour couldn’t have seemed like a more perfect move for her.

Ice Spice doesn’t have that many songs yet, but she basically played every one that you could think of, from her own instant classics like “Munch (Feelin’ U),” “In Ha Mood,” “Gangsta Boo,” “Princess Diana,” and “Deli” to her PinkPantheress collab “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” to her Barbie song to her On The Radar freestyle that she dedicated to her day ones. She had her producer RIOTUSA on the 1s and 2s, four dancers, and a graffiti-covered backdrop, and she sounded genuinely great on every single song. She’s already one of the most exciting new artists in the world, but seeing it live really seals the deal.

Check out some videos from Barclays below, along with setlists via (technically from other cities, but I’m pretty sure they were the same in Brooklyn). The tour’s next stop is at Newark’s Prudential Center on Thursday (11/30) and it continues through mid-December. All remaining tour dates are listed below.

Doja Cat Setlist (via)
Act I
WYM Freestyle
Tia Tamera
Agora Hills

Act II
Red Room
(Hiatus Kaiyote cover)
Ain’t Shit

Say So
Get Into It (Yuh)
Need to Know
Kiss Me More

Act IV
Paint the Town Red
Streets (Contains elements of “Freak”)
Fuck the Girls (FTG)

Act V
Can’t Wait
Go Off
Wet Vagina

Ice Spice Setlist (via)
Princess Diana
Gangsta Boo
Butterfly Ku
Actin a Smoochie
On the Radar
Pretty Girl
Barbie World (Nicki Minaj & Ice spice song)
Boy’s a liar Pt. 2 (PinkPantheress & Ice Spice song)
Bikini Bottom
In Ha Mood
Munch (Feelin’ U)

Doja Cat / Ice Spice — 2023 Tour Dates
Thu Nov 30 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
Sat Dec 02 Boston, MA TD Garden
Mon Dec 04 Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena
Thu Dec 07 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
Fri Dec 08 Omaha, NE CHI Health Center
Sun Dec 10 Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena
Mon Dec 11 Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena
Wed Dec 13 Chicago, IL United Center