[LIVE REVIEW] Jessica Mauboy w/ Isaiah Firebrace @ ICC, Sydney 07/04/2017

Review Rochelle Cupido

Ever since Jessica Mauboy’s rise to fame after her appearance on Australian Idol many years ago, she has endeared herself to not only fans across Australia, but also to many across the world as her profile continues to soar.

Tonight, it was Sydney’s opportunity to bask in the magnificent glory that is a performance filled with passion, emotion, musical indulgence and most of all, just plain fun.

Tonight was to be a performance based on her story, the Jessica Mauboy story, filled with emotional memories of her childhood, including her early forays into singing and performing, and subsequent rise to greater fame.

Before Jessica graced the stage, the large crowd was treated to a short performance by Isaiah Firebrace, a young man who won X Factor in 2016, and who will be representing Australia at Eurovision 2017.

A quiet and relatively intimate set, with just Isaiah and two other musicians on stage, as Isaiah’s beautiful vocal range soared and thrilled the crowd, be sure to check out his music and follow his performance at Eurovision.

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After beginning the performance with a few highly charged dance numbers, Jessica brought the tone down when she was joined on stage by five musicians, all with acoustic musical accompaniments and began relating stories of how as a young child Jessica was fascinated and charmed by country artists. She began to sing various country classics such as Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand By Your Man whilst large images of country and outback Australia appeared on the stage backdrop.

The story telling set the tone for the rest of the show, as Jessica affectionately giggled her way through specific details of her childhood as she interacted with the large crowd, she had very fond memories to share and the crowd were all too willing to listen, shouting out cries of “we love you Jessica” often, to which Jessica responded by sending the same message straight back.

This was clearly a very intimate setting, despite the size of the venue and the large crowd which had gathered.

With all but one of the five acoustic musicians exiting the stage, it was now only Jessica and another, who both then preceded to sit on the very edge of the stage and perform the ‘Crowded House’ classic “Better Be Home Soon’ much to the excitement of the crowd, a real sing-a-long affair ensued.

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One of the really emotionally charged moments of the performance came when Jessica recalled how her father used to drive Jessica and her siblings around in the family ute, with all of the children sitting in the back. The crowd was told that Jessica’s mother tended to be the DJ, and often gravitated toward playing ‘Cold Chisel’ with all of the children singing along loudly to the songs from the back of the ute… and sure enough, Jessica, accompanied by just one acoustic guitarist blended straight into Cold Chisel’s ‘Flame Trees’ which again, had the crowd singing along in unison… a very special moment indeed.

And on the stories went, beautiful stories that not only touched Jessica, however they also seemed to touch the hearts of the large crowd.

There was the time when Jessica, at the age of thirteen or fourteen, travelled with her family to Tamworth to perform, the first time she ever played with a full band. After arriving in Tamworth, Jessica’s mother disappeared for a short while and returned with a key, when asked what the key was for the children were told that it was for a house that Jessica’s mother had arranged for the whole family to stay in whilst in town. The problem was that the house was completely empty, no furniture, no bedding, no fridge etc, then Jessica’s mother left again, only to return with inflatable mattresses for everyone to sleep on.

All the while Jessica radiated as she relayed these strong and very fond memories of the family’s adventures, and the crowd absolutely loved it.

Jessica went on to say that it was that very first time in Tamworth performing with a full band that seemed to become a life changing moment for her, a moment where she thought that this could really be her calling, to be able to perform professionally and do what she is truly passionate about.

The crowd then watched a short piece of footage from Jessica’s first appearance on Australian Idol as she exited the stage for one of her several costume changes on the night.

When Jessica returned to the stage, she began to relay to the crowd just what her mother truly meant to her, and then, as she tried to hold back tears, she performed a stunning ballad with just Jessica on vocals and piano… this one folks had the large section of the crowd toward the front standing and cheering, and clearly Jessica was very appreciative of that.

Another costume change and it was time for the performance to change tempo again, no rest for the wicked. As Jessica was changing costume, the crowd was treated to footage of Jessica’s appearance in the movie ‘The Sapphires’ and then, when Jessica returned to the stage she and the band launched into several Motown classics, and by now the crowd was pumping, singing and dancing along in a highly energised surrounding.

As the show drew closer to the end, Jessica announced that it was time to pop a bottle, and so the band launched into her hit ‘Pop A Bottle (Fill Me Up)’ which almost tore the roof of this amazing venue!

And so, just like that this amazing performance of just over two hours concluded, with a buzz and energy which you only associate with high level acts that bring together performances that leave you breathless, and appreciative of the artist and their entourage for the show that they bring to you – real entertainment.

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This show is a rollercoaster filled with emotional twists and turns, with beautiful tales of Jessica’s upbringing and warm family nature, with uplifting stories of Jessica’s passion for music and performing at a very young age, and her subsequent rise to fame doing what she truly loves to do.

This show is for pretty much everyone, a perfect environment for a great night out shared with family and friends, because that what Jessica brings to the party, not just her magnificent voice accompanied by a fantastic band, but also through her warming and heartfelt recollections of a life thus far filled with joy and hope… we can all learn from Jessica’s wonderful approach to everything she does, I did, and it feels great!