They’ve impressed the Recording Academy, earning nominations for this year’s Grammy Awards (starting at 5 p.m. on CBS). But did they impress Seattle?

Many of the 2023 Grammy nominees have graced Washington venues in recent years. Some musicians helped us recover from election anxiety or had Seattle erupting in applause on cue, while others left our reviewers wanting more. From the artists who “cleansed 18,000 souls at once” with their radiant voices to those who could barely be distinguished from their backup singers, here’s how some of this year’s notable Grammy nominees fared when performing in the Evergreen State.

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Lizzo at Climate Pledge Arena, Nov. 9, 2022

“The powerhouse singer/rapper’s overwhelmingly positive messages are a balm for the scrapes and scars of a world that feels increasingly harsh and turbulent. This was clear from the opening notes of ‘The Sign,’ a congenial, post-lockdown salutation that also opens ‘Special,’ Lizzo’s fourth album (depending how you count ’em), marking her pandemic return.

“‘It’s called heeeaaaling,’ she crowed amid the show’s gleaming, jab-stepping blastoff.”

— Michael Rietmulder, Seattle Times music writer

Zach Bryan at WAMU Theater, Oct. 25, 2022

“Whether he needed the help or not, Bryan played off the crowd like a booming duet partner at times, often goading them into an extra energy-channeling chorus at the end of songs, including a steady kicking ‘Heading South,’ Bryan’s second biggest tune.”


— Michael Rietmulder

Kendrick Lamar at Climate Pledge Arena, Aug. 27, 2022

“Kendrick Lamar has been going through something. 

“The Pulitzer Prize-winning Compton hip-hop artist admitted as much on ‘United In Grief,’ the opening track on this spring’s ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.’ Supporting the album on his Big Steppers tour Saturday in Seattle, Lamar turned Climate Pledge Arena into a lavish therapy session, held live in front of 17,000-plus. …

“It’s a compelling internal battle that plays out satisfyingly on the rich, challenging ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.’ But in front of 17,000 fans, and in contrast with explosive tracks like ‘M.A.A.D. City’ and the hits that made Kendrick a household name, the effect isn’t as consistently poignant.”

— Trevor Lenzmeier, deputy features editor

Wet Leg at THING festival, Aug. 26, 2022

“The combination of [lead singer/guitarist Rhian Teasdale’s] gentle stage presence and lyrical whimsy lightened the mood of Wet Leg’s potent blend of quirky post-punk and combustible power pop, making the absurdly hyped Brits the perfect festival rock band.”

— Michael Rietmulder

Brandi Carlile at Gorge Amphitheatre, June 11, 2022

“Carlile and her superb nine-piece band already had rumbled and crooned through most of her most beloved tunes when, after the encore break, the ’90s undisputed sad-song queen [Sarah McLachlan] quietly took a seat at the piano. With a clear mutual admiration, the A-list duet partners floated through McLachlan’s ‘Do What You Have to Do’ — a Carlile favorite she begged her folk-pop hero to sing with her — and ‘Angel.’ McLachlan’s signature tune, the weepy piano ballad (as heard on those infamous fundraising commercials), has generated a zillion dollars to fight animal abuse and even more breakup tears. But as their radiant voices were suspended in the cool night air, it felt more like the rapturous climax of a midnight church service that cleansed 18,000 souls at once.”

— Michael Rietmulder

Luke Combs at Lumen Field, June 4, 2022

“Combs unleashed his crunchy, countrified head banger ‘Cold as You.’ It’s a Grade A tip-one-back, leave-your-troubles-at-the-door jukebox slammer that bowled over the stadium crowd like Marshawn Lynch on an undersized defensive back. Or maybe more accurately, it was the thunderous crowd that bowled over Combs, as early on his vocals struggled to compete with the tens of thousands of voices singing along with every word.”

— Michael Rietmulder

Billie Eilish at Climate Pledge Arena, March 25, 2022

“Coming into her first Seattle arena date, perhaps the biggest question was how [Eilish’s] trademark hushed vocals would hold up in the big room. But there were no issues as she and her crew passed the most high-energy test of the night when the devilish jubilee of ‘Bad Guy’ set the crowd off before closing with breakup blowout ‘Happier Than Ever.’”


— Michael Rietmulder

Bad Bunny at Climate Pledge Arena, March 1, 2022

“Bad Bunny has crashed into music’s mainstream … as a leader of the red-hot Latin trap and reggaeton movements. But the genre- and gender-bending star’s music has a wider scope that can’t be boxed, and Tuesday night’s opening blitz showed the breadth of his sonic palette.”

— Michael Rietmulder

Harry Styles at the Tacoma Dome, Nov. 7, 2021

“The most memorable parts of the show were its more tender moments, like when Styles told the crowd to ‘tell the people you came with you love them’ before singing ‘Fine Line,’ and couples and friends, nestling against each other, swayed to his falsetto and acoustic guitar.

“It felt like the crowd arrived at the show infatuated by Styles — and left in love with each other.”

— Jade Yamazaki Stewart, former Seattle Times features reporter

Coldplay at Climate Pledge Arena, Oct. 22, 2021

“The band isn’t exactly a critical favorite (at least on this side of the pond), and that’s just fine. But the commercial juggernauts command a very bright spotlight and the stars were shining for Climate Pledge Arena, too, as the Brits made the carbon-neutral arena their launchpad for their sustainability-focused Music of the Spheres tour next year, aiming to cut its CO2 emissions in half.

“For a night, the superstar pop band put Seattle and its eco-conscious new arena at the center of its universe for a cosmic swoonfest seen around the world. Not a bad way to break in the place.”

— Michael Rietmulder

Beyoncé (with Jay-Z) at CenturyLink Field (now Lumen Field), Oct. 4, 2018

“The music cut as Beyoncé took sole control of her stage. Sections of the packed CenturyLink Field erupted on cue with each silent gesture from their queen, dressed in a shimmery bronze catsuit as she expressionlessly surveyed the tens of thousands of her loyal subjects.


“Such is the power of one of the greatest performers of her generation who, along with her husband/hip-hop icon Jay-Z, is completing a three-album, two-megatour pop opera with this year’s On the Run II tour.”

— Michael Rietmulder

Taylor Swift at CenturyLink Field (now Lumen Field), May 22, 2018

“Swift’s is a commanding stage presence, whether she’s unaccompanied and strutting across the stage in knee-high leather boots, or decked out as a sci-fi Egyptian queen flanked by her minions in movement. The only knock — and not an insignificant one — was that Swift’s vocals were often absent or ineffective. Amid the highly choreographed megaproduction, too frequently Swift’s voice was simply indistinguishable from her supporting vocalists.”

— Michael Rietmulder

Adele at KeyArena (now Climate Pledge Arena), July 25, 2016

“Adele knows how to wind up a crowd to almost unbearable levels of emotional tension, but her secret is that she also knows how to release them with a sigh. …

“Such calibrated emotion is the hallmark of historic divas like Marlene DietrichEdith Piaf and Amalia Rodrigues, and Adele is now in their league. Indeed, when her husky alto dipped low on ‘Million Years Ago’ during a delicious acoustic set, she recalled the deep, sad soul of Dietrich herself.”

— Paul de Barros, former Seattle Times music critic