She played around with the truth in the opening song "Rumors." She ended her set pre-encore dissing all the men who lie in "Truth Hurts."

The most truthful and telling moment during Lizzo's spirited Treasure Island Casino Amphitheater concert on Saturday night, however, came when the former Minnesotan delivered the title track of the album that turned her into a pop-culture phenomenon.

"I'm crying, 'cuz I love you," the 33-year-old singer/rapper bellowed with discernible intensity.

Tears streamed and emotions ran high throughout the 90-minute lovefest of a performance, one that reiterated Lizzo isn't just a major musical talent but also now something of a much-needed self-help guru.

It was her first live gig since the pandemic. It was her first time back in Minnesota post-lockdown. And it was her biggest headlining performance to date — a sold-out appearance that drew 16,000 attendees despite it being the busiest weekend for concerts this year in the Twin Cities, and despite renewed COVID concerns.

Treasure Island did not implement any extra COVID rules for the concert, leaving most fans to loudly belt out the words to the third song "Good As Hell" without the hindrance of a mask — and with a little extra encouragement from Lizzo as she introduced the carefree anthem.

"We need this!" she repeatedly yelled, leading to the first instance of her fighting back tears and shouting out her roots in the Twin Cities, her home from 2010 to 2017.

"I never thought I'd make it back to the stage. This is my first show in two years, and it feels so special to be doing it in Minnesota where my solo career first took off."

Saturday's gig was actually supposed to be her second one back, but flooding washed out her scheduled date last weekend at Bonnaroo in Tennessee — where she had earned bragging rights as one of the festival's first female headliners.

She nonetheless arrived with a new, full-scale stage production, which included an expanded lineup of 14 gyrating dancers and her first full-tilt live backing band, all of them women.

She only played one new song, though, despite having another album in the can purportedly due out by year's end. "Rumors" made for a rousing opener, despite Cardi B's vocals in the new single having to be piped in via tape in lieu of the real thing.

Thanks to the extra oomph of the live band — and to a series of hopeful messages Lizzo tacked on reflecting the turmoil of the past two years — the songs from " 'Cuz I Love You" took on renewed power Saturday.

Her five-piece band — including Minneapolis' Sophia Eris back as DJ and backup vocalist — added a Prince & NPG-style funkiness to "Worship Me," "Like A Girl" and "Jerome." The live instrumentation also gave Lizzo freedom to improvise through snippets of Aretha Franklin's "Respect," Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" and Erykah Badu's "Tyrone" in each of those songs, respectively.

She also added a strong new message about mental wellness before the funky workout "Exactly How I Feel," praising athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for their much-publicized demands for self-care.

"People who had the weight of the world on their shoulders and said, 'I have to take care of myself first,' " Lizzo raved. "You gotta honor how you feel."

Her lyrics about loving thyself through chaos never sounded more universal. "Water Me" near show's end, in particular, felt viscerally empowering. Other songs were made all he more emotional from personal circumstances on Saturday night.

During "Coconut Oil," a soulful riff on her mother's healing care, Lizzo choked up again, noting that her mom was watching from the wings and it was her birthday. She also laughingly recounted the wild night in Uptown that inspired the digi-romp "Phone."

"Twin Cities, y'all have supported me so much," she said. "I'm always indebted to you."

Like her semi-fantastical relationship with actor Chris Evans — about whom she added some salacious, Captain Americanized lyrics in "Jerome" — it looks like Lizzo's love affair with her former hometown is also to be continued.

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658

• @ChrisRstrib