On this very day six years ago, Rita Ora cancelled her Brisbane show at The Tivoli scheduled for the next day due to a throat illness. And for what has been an excruciating wait in-between shows has seen the UK singer-songwriter turn into one of the biggest names in current pop culture. From starring in the Fifty Shades Of Grey franchise to judging on The X Factor UK and The Voice UK, hosting America’s Next Top Model, designing her own Adidas range, modelling in multiple huge brand campaigns as well as having chart topping singles. She’s almost become unstoppable. It only seems like fate that exactly six years later she’s back in Brisbane playing to an excited crowd that have waited a long time to see her since that cancelled Future Music Festival Sideshow.
With the inside of the Eatons Hill Hotel already filling up, Australian singer-songwriter Sammi Constantine took to the stage for a brief but fierce set. Kicking off with recent single ‘Feel Your Body’ and unreleased track ‘Better Without You’ she had the crowd grooving along instantly to her well produced electronic-pop vibes. “Thank you so much Brisbane, are you excited for Rita Ora?” she screamed as she took off her jacket and got a little seductive with ‘Through My Clothes’. She naturally mashed up the song with ‘Needed Me’ by Rihanna and ‘Girls (Who Run The World)’ by Beyonce which showed a playful and experimental side to her harmonies. From there she mixed up her sound with ‘Watch Yourself’ and the unreleased ‘Shots’ and ‘Ropes’ which her live band thrived in before closing her set with the confusing ‘Coco’ which was a little cringe-worthy at best compared to the earlier mature tracks.
To add to the all female billed line-up, Brisbane was treated to something a little extra special to make up for the previous show cancellation. Direct from the Mardi Gras After Party and a sold out Sydney sideshow, Kim Petras was added to the line up last minute to get the party vibes flowing on a Tuesday night. The German singer-songwriter has become a newcomer you shouldn’t be sleeping on with some ridiculously catchy pop tracks that have been playlisted all over the world. With her infamous “Woo-Ah” echoing through the venue she walked on stage rocking some knee-high Jigglypuff boots for opening track ‘If U Think About Me…”. “Whats up you guys!” she excitingly exclaimed as she candidly explained how it was her first time to Australia and how she couldn’t believe she was finally here. Diving straight into her debut single ‘I Don’t Want It At All’, ‘Hills’, ‘Hillside Boys’ and ‘Close My Eyes’ it quickly became apparent that there were quite a few people in the audience that knew every word to her infectious tracks. “Thank you to the Brisbane gays for coming tonight. I can feel your energy” she giggled as she pointed out the fans who were screaming out the lyrics. Petras is not only a massive ally of the LGBTQI+ community but she is also an transgender artist who underwent gender reassignment during her teenage years. The now 25 year old singer-songwriter is a confident and powerful live performer who not only commands the stage but can also effortlessly belt out some impressive high notes. Closing her set with ‘1,2,3 Dayz Up’ and ‘Heart To Break’ she left the crowd wanting more from her bubbly discography which would’ve been very welcomed.
With the cinematic instrumental of ‘For You’ filling the venue as smoke drifted across the stage, a silhouette of Rita Ora appeared as she took centre stage. With the chorus erupting, a euphoric energy followed which exploded and rolled into the hits ‘Your Song’ and ‘Doing It’. “Brisbane, it’s about time!” she excitingly gushed as she welcomed the crowd to the third night of her world tour. Talking in depth about her drum n bass roots, she showcased that she was still in touch of where she came from with the recent Rudimental collaboration ‘Summer Love’. Following it up with a medley of ‘New Look’ and ‘Girls’ followed by a massive singalong version of ‘Let You Love Me’ she explained how tonight was all in celebration of her new album ‘Phoenix’.
Breaking the show up with some dramatic instrumental interludes, it’s obvious that they’ve created this show to be easily adapted into the arena setting that her UK and Europe tour evolves into. Which will probably see a bigger set, videos screens and dancers take this show to the next level. But tonight in Brisbane we got an up close and personal show that was a lot more intimate and interactive but still embodied the same energy that the arena show will thrive off. Walking back onstage for ‘Hell Of A Life’ she then stripped things back for the power ballad ‘Soul Survivor’ and new single ‘Only Want You’ which she was filming a promotional video for during the show. “Are you still with me?” she asked the crowd as she got them to all sing along to a re-imagined version of ‘I Will Never Let You Down’. “I’ve finally warmed you up” she teased as she made comment to the massive singalong that occurred during the euphoric favourite.
After a quick costume change she strutted back onstage and turned up the volume for ‘RIP’, ‘Keep Talking’, ’Black Widow’, ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Hot Right Now’ which saw her and her band give their absolute all. As they all danced and belted out the lyrics they abruptly said good night and left the stage. With a chant instantly breaking out for more they obliged and returned for the Avicii chart-topper ‘Lonely Together’. “Thank you Brisbane for a very special night. It’s night like these that I will never forget” Ora confessed to the crowd who were in awe of her powerhouse vocals and her infectious energy. After saying good night she wrapped up the show with the ridiculously catchy ‘Anywhere’ which was undisputedly one of the best pop songs of 2017.
Whilst the crowd was walking out of the venue, there was this really positive energy that radiated as everyone gushed over how incredible that live show was. With three diverse, talented and strong female acts leading this bill, it was a great indication for the direction of the future of pop music.
Check out the full gallery captured by Tam Cam Photography HERE;
Photos By Tam Schilling