A stadium setting was always going to be a strange experience for a Sia concert. When I picture Sia and her visual art presentations I imagine them in a small intimate setting or in an arena at the largest, not in front of 45,000 people at a football stadium. But she ambitiously gave Sydney one of the strangest and most intriguing shows of the year. Joined by an epic line up of some of pops leading females including Amy Shark, MO and Charli XCX it was promised to be quite the show.
Amy Shark is a name you haven’t stopped hearing all year long after she debuted at number two on Triple J’s Hottest 100 at the start of the year. “Adore” is just one of those songs that continually gets bigger and doesn’t seem to be showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. Straight from winning an Aria and performing on James Corden’s The Late Late Show, the Gold Coast songstress humbly stepped on the stage for a 30 minute showcase. With only one EP under her belt she impressingly held the audiences attention while they were all waiting for the massive singalong’s “Blood Brothers”, “Weekends” and “Adore” which closed her set. A lot of her material can come across monotonous as they repeat the same chords but she does know how to write a good hook. She has been playing the same structured set for the past 12 months so if you have seen her before then you weren’t surprised but I think to make a stronger impact she should change up the setlist and maybe open with “Weekends” or “Blood Brothers” instead to get the crowd on her side earlier.
Danish favourite MO is the famous popstar that you’ve probably never heard of before. It’s harsh but true. If you aren’t an avid pop fan then you wouldn’t know her name but you would 110% know her songs. She’s featured on some of your favourite EDM-pop crossovers over the past couple of years and has delivered a couple of absolute bangers herself that have topped the charts and gained heavy rotation. Opening with new track “Roots” she underwhelmingly kicked off her set but she was only just getting started. She then delivered “Nights With You”, “When I Was Young”, “Don’t Leave”, “Kamikaze” and new Diplo collaboration “Get it Right” and quickly had the crowd vibing. She graciously thanked the crowd for coming to watch and expressed her excitement to be joining Sia for these exclusive shows. She then stripped it down for an acoustic version of her Major Laser and Justin Bieber collaboration “Cold Water” and closed off her set with the smash hits “Final Song” and “Lean On”. She notably left out “Drum” and “Don’t Wanna Dance” from her setlist which would’ve been stronger additions than some of the new EP material she did play. I saw her perform at Splendour In The Grass in 2015 and she was one of my absolute highlights and even though the crowd took a little while to get into her vibe with the stadium setting she didn’t disappoint.
Charli XCX is one of pops most underrated acts. She exploded on the scene after releasing her bubblegum sophomore record “Sucker” and collaborating with Iggy Azalea on the smash hit “Fancy”. But for some reason she just hasn’t really peaked past that point even though she’s been delivering constant strong bangers. Running out onto the stage she opened with “Dreamer” from her most recent mixtape “Number 1 Angel” before throwing it back to her Icona Pop collaboration “I Love It”. She expletively greeted the crowd and asked if they were ready to dance in the rain with her which they excitingly agreed to. She then delivered “Break The Rules”, “3AM”, “Dirty Sexy Money” and her most recent single “Boys”. She kept the bangers coming with “1 Night”, “After The Afterparty” and “Fancy” before closing with her monster hit “Boom Clap”. It was a quick 40 minute set that you didn’t want to end. It was full of high energy and ridiculously catchy pop/dance music that you felt like you were transported to some cool festival.
A few things you have to realise about a Sia show is that it’s a visual art performance, she’s not going to interact with the crowd and she’s going to wear her wig and stand in the corner for the whole show. If you understand those requirements then you are going to enjoy the show but if you are expecting a spectacle like Katy Perry then you have come to the wrong show. Opening with “Alive” the black curtain opened to reveal Sia standing on a podium in the middle of the stage in front of a white screen with Maddie Ziegler dancing around her. It was the audiences first introduction to what to expect for the evening. Her podium was then adjusted to the corner of the stage as another dancer came out to perform “Diamonds”. Throughout the night the dancers would take turns to come out and perform a number while Sia sung them effortlessly. Maddie Ziegler from Dance Moms fame was the lead dancer who helped bring these unique stores to life. Minimalistic props were brought on and off stage to help set the scene but the dancing itself really brought justice to the storylines. “Reaper”, “Big Girls Cry”, “Bird Set Free” and “Cheap Thrills” were early favourites and had the crowd spellbound. The whole show I couldn’t hep but be in awe of Sia’s vocals because they were absolutely flawless and I couldn’t fault them once. Each song was divided by a little video interlude that helped carry the storyline but what became really confusing was all the footage that showed on the big screens while Sia was performing was not live. It was a pre-recorded version of the concert to “enhance the visual experience”. But really it just threw people off and if you had to watch the screen because you were so far away in the stadium then you milsewell have been home watching it on YouTube. “Elastic Heart”, “Move Your Body”, “Chandelier” and a piano version of “Titanium” closed the show before the epic encore moment that was “The Greatest”. Before the encore she quickly thanked the crowd for braving the rain in a very special and rare spoken moment. The show was a one of a kind and while it wasn’t suited for stadiums it was worth witnessing and really delivered an empowering experience.