[Contemporary Music ~ AUS]
The Palais, Thu 7 Mar.
Sarah Blasko’s one-night-only Palais performance had the audience enraptured. Listening to the people around me it seemed that everyone had a Blasko story – “I’ve seen her five/seven/eight times”. There was so much love in the room it was almost tangible, and the faces in the crowd were maps of joy.
It’s easy to understand that once a Blasko fan, always a Blasko fan. Her stage presence is phenomenal; channelling Kate Bush and Florence Welch into a purely Australian aesthetic, Blasko is mesmerising and compelling to watch. There is a power to her live performance that isn’t quite captured in recordings – the act of watching her is to see her at full authority, embodying the songs with each idiosyncratic movement, each wild cast of her eyes, each sharp plane of light flickering on her cheekbones.
The set list included some of her more well-known songs, which were received with ecstatic applause (We Won’t Run, All I Want, Never Let Me Go) but some of the more memorable moments were delivered with lesser known tracks. Two of the many highlights were the brilliantly commanding I Am Ready and No Turning Back. A theme of much of Blasko’s music – attaining selfhood – was on display on repeat, and it was a beautiful thing to both feel and observe.
The Palais added to the atmosphere of the evening, with the lit-up riverbank precinct offering a stunning backdrop to the stage, and when the mirror ball spun during We Won’t Run there was a magical glitter to the space that created a moment of pure enchantment.
At the end of the genuinely captivating and charming performance the audience demanded an encore, and were duly rewarded with I Wanna Be Your Man and I Awake before leaving sated and satisfied.