Missy Elliott electrifies Climate Pledge Arena in her first headlining tour – The Seattle Times

With multiple Grammy Awards and hits like “Work It” to her name, Missy Elliott became known as the “Queen of Hip-Hop” and solidified her place as a legend in the business in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Even though Graves’ disease cut her career short in 2005 after just six studio albums, it would appear that Elliott, 53, had done most everything there is to do in music.
Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder that can cause hypothyroidism, tremors and eye issues, caused Elliott to disappear from the public eye for 10 years, before she reemerged in better health at the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show, then released her first EP, “Iconology,” in 2019.
Yet, until this month, despite her accolades and success, Elliott had somehow never headlined her own tour. She can check that off the list now. Elliott’s “Out of This World” tour landed in Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday night after kicking things off in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday.
Playing for a rowdy, packed arena filled with many of Elliott’s contemporaries doing their best to turn back the clock with her, she delivered a tight 75-minute set that was appropriately bombastic for her particular brand of mind-bending beats and raunchy raps. Also with Elliott were some of her closest collaborators and friends. The beat smith Timbaland opened, followed by Busta Rhymes and Ciara — who was performing in Seattle for the first time since she and husband Russell Wilson, the former Seahawks quarterback, left the area in 2022, and who drew some of the loudest cheers of the night.
Descending from a spaceship, Elliott immediately established that she was not messing around by launching into a wicked version of “Throw It Back” before upping the aural assault with “Cool Off.” By the time she hit “We Run This,” she was barely five minutes into the show and flying through her catalog.
Even though the pace was quite brisk, it didn’t seem like Elliott was rushing so much as trying to cram as much fun as possible into the allotted time. Sometimes, things blurred together into a frenetic mash of sound and dance, but more often than not, the production managed to let things breathe just enough, like when “I’m Really Hot” showcased Elliott’s trademark aggressive confidence but then segued into ’90s throwback “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” which featured rain pouring down onto the stage on top of a dancer in a cool set piece.
Halfway through her set, Elliott sent the crowd into a meltdown of nostalgia with her 2001 megahit “Get Ur Freak On,” which featured some genuinely impressive dancing from her large army of backup dancers. Elliott seemed in her element as they gyrated around her while she rapped the prescient lyrics “People don’t you know/Me and Timbaland been hot since 20 years ago” that reinforced how bizarre it is that she hasn’t had a headlining tour until now.
The tour is also clearly another outlet for Elliott’s wild sense of style. From fluorescent green fur hats to enormous billowing black capes, it seemed like Elliott was constantly finding time to duck away and change her outfit.
Though the speed of the transition between songs wasn’t a problem, the show was loud to the point of being painful. It wasn’t so much the bass as it was several higher-register screeching sounds that ranged from annoying to eardrum-shattering.
Still, it wasn’t nearly enough to derail an impressive outing for an unlikely first-time headliner. Elliott commanded the crowd like the veteran she is and when she walked around the edge of the arena during her signature 2002 hit “Work It,” people reached toward her as if her touch could heal any affliction.
Elliott brought her openers back out to close the show, featuring Timbaland on “Up Jumps Da Boogie,” Busta Rhymes on “Touch It” and Ciara on a barn-burning version of “Lose Control” that sent Climate Pledge into a frenzy one last time.
It would be a shame if this were Elliott’s last headlining tour. If anything, it was simply a reminder that hers is a vital voice in hip-hop and that in this world or out of it, she still has a lot to say.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.