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Rod Laver Arena
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 170 Russell, 2018, Australian Tour, Cassandra Hale, John Mayer, Live Nation Australia, Live Review, Lynda Buchanan, Lynda Buchanan Photography, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
The lines of people zigzagged across the front of the newly appointed Rod Laver Arena, the turn out was of massive proportions and it was no doubt that the show was going to be full to the brim. With a musical career spanning 20 years, John Mayer has certainly amassed an army of fans, with every second one wearing a newly purchased t-shirt from the large variety available at the merch stalls.
The stage was set with a tie-dyed backdrop and side screens for the fans in the upper levels, with risers for the percussionist, drummer, keyboards and backing vocalists. I liked the use of the height giving everyone a terrific view of the whole band. As expected, the arena was packed solid, and as the lights dropped the fans let out yelps and screams of excitement, the electricity running through the venue was immediate as the main man took to the stage. Opening the nights’ proceedings with Queen of California, I Guess I Just Feel Like and Heartbreak Warfare the show was off and running and John settled into his rhythm. Looking extremely relaxed in cargos and a short sleeve sweatshirt, John was dressed for comfort feeling quite at home on the stage, never mind the thousands of eyes on him.
John’s musicianship was extraordinary, his nimble fingers working the strings with ease, while I have always associated guitars with John Mayer, I had no idea the extent of his playing. I was left with my jaw on the floor at how brilliant he was, with more guitar changes over the evening than I’ve had hot dinners his techs certainly earnt their coin as they raced to keep the glorious tunes flowing. With the show split over two sets the first half was made up of ten songs, including Waiting On The Day, Something Like Olivia and Love On The Weekend. John’s colourful trainers seemed to be infused with air as he bounced on the spot as he played, never missing a beat totally in tune with his music. He also gave us some insight into a time when he ‘lost himself’ for a year or two, moving incognito with the addition of weight, layers, long hair and stubble. Which lead to Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey a song he wrote during this time in his life. The audience lapped it up enjoying the personal touch to the song and a bit of back history about it. No Such Thing had us singing along in unison, a popular tune that the whole arena knew. Clarity and the mega-hit Waiting On The World To Change saw out the first set to huge applause giving John and his exceptional band time to catch their breath.
With a brief interval of 25 minutes John returned to the stage solo as he played a few acoustic songs, once again tantalising us with his dazzling brilliance on the guitar playing In Your Atmosphere, a lovely cover of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire, the ever-popular Daughters and Neon which to my delight including a snippet of Toms Diner by Suzanne Vega.
The full band returned to the stage to deliver New Light which had us all bopping with some tasty licks and colourful lighting, it was the most upbeat tune of the night and the crowd loved it. Love Is A Verb, Rosie and Edge Of Desire was a winning trifecta as they powered through the songs. John was extremely engaging with the audience, happy for a bit of banter and plenty of intelligent humour which gave us all a giggle. With a frontman as captivating as Mr Mayer it was hard to give the band my full attention, but they were tight all night, giving us some blistering solos and powerful singing to accompany the huge setlist. Kudos to you all you were fantastic. In The Blood was a fabulous addition to the growing amount of hits as was Slow Dancing In A Burning Room. John’s voice like liquid silk, the beautiful lyrics rolling off his tongue with ease. His ‘guitar face’ was sensational, rapidly changing depending on how deep his playing went, his guitar became an extension of his body the two merging to become one. It was a joy to watch him play and the fans were loving every second, handing out huge applause after every solo. Openly discussing a world that is haunted by worry and anxiety, he played The Age Of Worry and Belief which saw out the second set.
After a quick departure from the stage, John and band returned to play out the night with Born And Raised and Gravity. Much to the dismay of the Brisbane fans Gravity didn’t make the setlist for their show so it was live-streamed on Instagram to appease them. A mistake I’m sure will not be made again, the fans speak in volumes hence the quick-fire remedy via social media. Gravity was the perfect finisher to showcase John’s talents, leaving space perfectly, never busy or rushed with his playing, a true professional from going to woe. He was gracious to his fans, with thanks aplenty and his parting words “I’m still John Mayer because you let me be!” a beautiful statement letting the fans know how much they are appreciated. John Mayer a true gentleman right to his last words.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Featured Interview, Interviews, Tour Interviews Bad Wolves, Cassandra Hale, Dallas Does PR, Disobey, Interview, John Boecklin, Rod Laver Arena, Tour, Zombie
Backstage at Rod Laver Arena before their last show in Melbourne supporting Nickelback, Cassandra Hale had a killer chat with BAD WOLVES drummer John Boecklin about the tour and about the response to their album DISOBEY which was released via Eleven Seven Records (Sony Australia) back in May last year.
Bad Wolves band rose to global acclaim this year with their cover of The Cranberries’ inter-generational hit Zombie topping global charts to become the #1 rock song of 2018.
Released as a tribute to late Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan, who was set to reprise her iconic vocals on the track before her untimely and tragic passing in January, Bad Wolves’ Zombie has resonated with audiences around the globe and embarked on a meteoric rise on global charts. The band is committed to donating all of their proceeds from the song to O’Riordan’s four children.
Zombie has received mainstream U.S. airplay from Howard Stern, KROQ, and Z100. The track went #1 on iTunes Overall (U.S., Canada, Australia), #1 on iTunes Rock globally, and #1 on iTunes Metal globally. The official music video has accumulated over 200 Million video views on YouTube combined since its release. In addition to cracking over 19 Million Spotify streams, the song has held steady as the longest-charting track of all those on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 chart so far this year (Perry is checking). The song has now gone GOLD in both the U.S. and Canada.
BUY DISOBEY HERE
But Disobey is much more than one hit song. The debut collection that sees five Los Angeles music veterans flexing their creative muscles and exploring new and previously untapped sonic spaces. The record is complex and vast; it’s full of lyrics that sees biracial front-man Tommy Vext tackling everything from the current political state of our nation to the prevalence of racism — not the typical fodder for an album that’s already birthing hit singles. It also addresses deeply personal matters, with the singer stating, “This album is a commentary, but it’s also a diary.”
In addition to Zombie, Disobey boasts the crushingly catchy Learn to Live, fan favourites Shapeshifter, and the soaring ballad Remember When. The latter is inspired by Vext’s twin brother, who is currently serving time for his attempt to murder Vext. Following the murder attempt, Vext began a career as a sober coach to help others break free of the cycle of drug addiction and violence.
The album also includes Hear Me Now which Bad Wolves revealed in a duet form with label-mate Diamante.
Overall, the Bad Wolves story is one of quiet resilience. The band features drummer John Boecklin (ex-Devildriver) and vocalist Tommy Vext (Divine Heresy, Snot), as well as guitarists Doc Coyle (ex-God Forbid), Chris Cain (Bury Your Dead), and bassist Kyle Konkiel (ex-In This Moment), in its ranks. The group—whose members are both seasoned veterans and talented players who have logged critically acclaimed stints in some of rock and metal’s most celebrated acts— emerges as a testament to their collective talent and rapidly expanding fanbase.
DISOBEY TRACK LISTING:
1. Officer Down
2. Learn To Live
3. No Masters
5. Run For Your Life
6. Remember When
7. Better the Devil
8. Jesus Slaves
9. Hear Me Now
10. Truth or Dare
11. The Conversation
12. Shape Shifter
13. Toast to the Ghost
BUY DISOBEY HERE
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Australian Tour, Bad Wolves, Cassandra Hale, Jose Sanchez, Live Nation Australia, Live Review, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
Melbourne was the final destination for Nickelback on their Feed The Machine tour, and they brought Bad Wolves along for the ride. You can only imagine my excitement at having a chat with drummer and founding member of Bad Wolves, John Boecklin before the show. He is a terrific guy and was extremely generous with his time, needless to say, I couldn’t wait for the show to start.
With the ridiculously huge success of their cover of The Cranberries Zombie, Bad Wolves are almost a household name in Australia, they received massive airplay and the hoards turned out early to see what all the fuss was about. Learn To Live opening the night’s proceedings and vocalist Tommy Vext blowing us away with his enthusiasm and energy. He had the fans eating out of his hands within minutes, happy to jump or punch the sky on his command. He is a well-built guy but it didn’t stop him spinning and jumping nonstop, absolutely owning the stage, even taking to the crowd on several occasions. He also touched briefly on his personal struggle with suicide and how we should always look out for each other. Here Me Now saw all the girls on shoulders at Tommy’s request then we were all literally blown out of our seats by Officer Down which was dedicated to the late Vinnie Paul. John destroyed us with his heavy hitting and double bassing, Doc, Chris and Kyle rounding out a heavy metal set that certainly got the room warmed up.
We were also given small snippets of No One Knows (QOTSA) and Chop Suey (System Of A Down) which were well received but we all knew that Zombie was the cover we were waiting for. With all proceeds from the song going to Dolores O’Riordan’s children, we lit up Rod Laver Arena with our phones and sang with passion taking over the vocals on serval occasions. The heaviness lends itself perfectly to the song and it was a fantastic finisher for the set. These guys are bloody sensational and if you are in the market for some new music, look no further than Bad Wolves you will be glad you did.
Australia has always had a love affair with Nickelback and this Melbourne show was no exception. Rod Laver was awash with diehard fans and almost everyone was happy to part with their hard earned to grab a piece of merch, t-shirts were off the scale, worn with pride by the punters as the clock ticked down to show time. The arena was packed to the rafters and as the lights dropped the electricity was palpable. Feed The Machine opened the set as the guys blasted onto the stage, it was loud, it was brash and it was a god damn rock n roll show at its finest. Woke Up This Morning and the smash hit Photograph took out the first three slots, the huge screens projecting photos from the lives of the members which was a terrific addition. Then the heart-warming Far Away had the chicks swooning, the lighting creating an ambiance that is not the norm at a rock show.
Something In Your Mouth is always a fan favourite, everyone happy to sing along with the suggestive lyrics, “cause you look so much cuter with something in your mouth” the semi-circle of lights wrapping the stage blasting red and white, as the fans ripped out the lyrics. The banter between band members, especially Chad and Ryan kept us all entertained, whether they were downing shots delivered by stagehand ‘Brad’ or just deciding what to play, they fed off each other and gave us plenty of laughs. Guitarist Ryan Peake had gone for the double denim ensemble and he rocked it, was that because he was the rockstar up on stage? probably, but whatever the case he wore it well. Ryan is such a talented musician and vocalist, singing on a number of occasions as well as playing the piano, one might say he is the complete package. Chad’s solo hit Hero was another great addition but Figured You Out with its opening line “I like your pants around your feet” sung by drummer Daniel Adair got the joint jumping. Followed closely by Someday which was a standout and one of my favourites of the night. Ryan took to the piano for Lullaby, again with the lovely lighting and a crowd sing-a-long. Jess was the lucky fan that was pulled from the crowd after holding up a sign saying she wanted to jam, and low and behold she really could play. She rocked the arse off Animals and I’m sure it’s a night she will never forget. Completed with a selfie she was on her way a grin from ear to ear. Animals is a song that the fans love, whether it is the sexual theme, or the rocking tune remains to be seen but whatever the reason they were going off!
It was an extremely well-behaved crowd with everyone there for a good time, hands in the air clapping and following Chad’s lead, and offering huge applause after every jaeger shot he and Ryan downed. Chad did mention he was going to be very hungover on the plane to Singapore in the morning but “fuck it, it’s Melbourne and its out last show so let’s party” and party they did. Bass player Mike Kroeger rounds out this awesome foursome and musical talent clearly runs in the Kroeger family. Mike did an amazing job all night and while he may not be as vocal as his brother, he was enjoying himself immensely.
Rockstar saw Chad and Ryan pull crowd members up for a singing showdown and I think Ryan won this one by a mile, his recruit Sam was fantastic, working the crowd and singing every word, Chad’s choice, yeah not so much. While his trademark golden locks are no longer, Chad ran the show like the professional he is, the night ran like a well-oiled machine and he is still rocking like he did at the band’s inception. How You Remind Me had everyone singing the intro at fever pitch and as Chad asked “are you having fun yet” it was a resounding hell yes as they blasted the worldwide hit to the screaming punters. Daniel was a machine on his kit, having him on a huge riser gave us a terrific view of furious drumming giving Nickelback enough heaviness to keep the fans happy.
With waves goodbye, the band left the stage but of course, we knew they would be back. After a quick minute to catch their breath, they returned with Million Miles an Hour. Burn It To The Ground would close out the show and while we weren’t swinging from the ceiling we were certainly screaming like demons as this red hot ripper was belted out. With red lighting and flames all over the screens, it was a riveting spectacle for such a bad arse song. The fans were delirious by this stage punching the air for every ‘yeah’ the floor alive with hands in the air, bodies bouncing, taking advantage of every last second.
It was a two-hour rock show like no other, Nickelback left nothing in the tank, they rocked the arse off the Melbourne fans who ate it up greedily. While thankfully they didn’t quite burn it to the ground it was most definitely ‘All In, Balls Out’ show and we can’t wait to have them back in Australia’s home of live music again.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Gallery 2018, Australian Tour, Bad Wolves, Gallery, Jose Sanchez, Live Nation Australia, Melbourne, Nickelback, Rod Laver Arena
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With Melbourne being the final destination of the worldwide Graffiti U tour the fans turned out in droves to see our very own Keith Urban in his last two shows of the tour at Rod Laver Arena. With the tour running since June last year it was an honour to have it finish in Melbourne and we couldn’t wait to see the new songs live. Night one was a packed house, with cowboy boots proudly on display with toes tapping as Julia Michaels took to the stage. Julia played a huge role in writing on Graffiti U together with writing song for the who’s who of the music industry to the likes of Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez. While tonight she enjoyed singing her own songs, we were also treated to a few she had written for other musicians, which made for a 45-minute set that most of the expanding crowd could sing along with.
Looking young and carefree, Julia bounced over the stage with the ease of a performer with many years of practice, and while she openly discussed her battle with anxiety you would never have known. Even writing a song about it on her new album Inner Monologue Part 1 aptly titled Anxiety. Happy was another one that had the fans eating out of her hands. With tattooed arms and a gorgeous spotty dress Julia treated us to a small snippet of her song writing magic, playing Bad Liar, 2002, Love Myself, Good For You and Sorry in a montage that had everyone singing along. Even taking a fans phone on stage and filming from her prime position, a lovely memory that the phones owner will treasure forever. Finishing up her set with Issues I had a feeling it wouldn’t be the last we would see of Julia for the night, but more on that later.
Opening with Never Comin Down the stage burst to life as Keith and his band made their presence known. Days Go By and Coming Home featuring Julia Michaels saw out the first three songs. Then it was time for a chat and Keith’s time to scan the audience and read out the signs the adoring fans had lovingly made. Not being able to read some he had his trusty spotlight on hand to light up the signs, falling on two girls waving their wares on the floor. Their sign read that that they would donate $1000 to the drought relief fund if they could come onstage. Keith got them up there in a shot together with their boyfriends for a chat and a selfie, anything to help out our struggling farmers!
Then on with the show, the stage set up was sensational with screens flashing every colour and pattern imaginable as Somewhere In My Car and Long Hot Summer rang out, Keith sounding fantastic, but who would expect anything less. Parallel Line, Put You In A Song and my favourite You Gonna Fly, the hits kept flying out, Keith’s band exemplary, all multi-instrumentalists and extremely talented singers to which we heard over the course of the evening. Keith’s shredding skills never fail to wow the crowd, and with more guitar changes than I’ve had hot dinners, there was a guitar for every occasion. Slinging them on and off like second nature, his ease with his guitars made it seemed like an extension of his body, comfortably at home slung across his hips. Oozing sexiness he had the girls and some of the guys swooning, with his tight tee and even tighter jeans, he really is the complete package. As the lights dimmed to just a spotlight on stage Keith played an outstanding acoustic solo which leads into Stupid Boy, drawing the crowd in hanging on every word, you could hear the echo of the whole arena singing as one with Keith for this beautiful ballad. A cover of the 5 Seconds of Summer song Lie To Me saw Julia return to sing with Keith, a stunning number that wowed us all. Somebody Like You saw the keyboard player Nathan Barlowe take over the vocals with a mash-up of With Or Without You by U2 that had the crowd singing their hearts out. Then the house lights dropped and Keith asked how might we light this place up if the power went out? With our phones of course! within seconds Rod Laver was awash with mobile phones, lighting the place incredibly well, people power at its best as we sang Somebody Like You in unison.
Blue Ain’t Your Color was a fan favourite and Drop Top off the latest album saw Kassi Ashton appear on the big screen singing along, continuing with the car theme Cop Car was up next. The setlist was extensive and loaded with hit after hit and while I can’t mention them all lets’ just say no one left disappointed! Niall Horan’s song Slow Hands was sung by Keith and his guitarist, their voices absolutely amazing. The Max cover of Lights Down Low saw the bass player step up for a turn, what a huge amount of talent on one stage. As The Fighter rang out we saw Carrie Underwood pop up on the big screens singing her parts as Keith made his way through the fans to the rear stage treating the back half of the arena to an up-close mini-concert. We took over Carrie’s vocals for a sing along then Keith played Kiss a Girl/Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me/You Look Good In My Shirt/Jackie Chan to the delight of all the fans who became front row groupies just for a moment or two. Seeing Keith a few years ago I wasn’t surprised when he handpicked a young lady from the audience to give his guitar too, her face was happiness personified, pure joy, shock, and love all mixed in one. Nobody will be wiping that smile off her face for a long time to come. Keith made his way back to the stage for a few more songs, with at least 20 under his belt it was a show not easily matched and was still going strong. The stage screens moving to drop and cover the stage with Keith and the band playing from behind the screen which became transparent with the exception of some vertical lines. The effects were stunning as Gone Tomorrow (Here Today) was played from within the screen which then lifted back to the ceiling. With the flashing lights and special effects, you could easily think you were at a rave party and not a rock show. Wasted Time was blisteringly good, confetti canons launching at its finale, colourful paper raining down on the fans all singing along not wanting the night to end. As we were already over the two-hour mark it was inevitable that it was going to be over soon so no one wanted to waste a minute.
After a quick break Keith and the boys were back, and while Mr. Urban held your attention all night, full credit to his sensational band they were the glue keeping the show going with precision playing that makes the songs what they are. They are a cohesive well-polished unit pumping out the finest quality sound, keeping us on our feet enjoying every second. Texas Time was song one of the encore followed by Horses which finished out the night. Keith taking time to shake hands with many fans long after his band had departed the stage. Such a genuine guy whose Aussie spirit is alive and well, holding his fans in the palm of his hand all evening. Graffiti U was a rock show that knew no bounds, pushed every limit and ticked every box, Keith Urban is the ultimate musician and performer and we should be so proud that he calls Australia home!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Gallery By Matt Allan
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2018, Australian Tour, Drapht, Live Nation Australia, Live Review, Matt Allan, Melbourne, Miranda Allan, Rod Laver Arena, The Bandito Tour, Twenty One Pilots
Before the show had even begun there was already a buzz about, the crowd lined up for merch then moved along to eagerly await the dynamic duo of Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph. Almost everyone that I witnessed both on public transport and outside Rod Laver Arena had something relating to Twenty-One Pilots on. I noticed a trend of camouflage, yellow clothing and stripes being worn by a large amount of the die-heart fans, some going to the extreme length of dying their own hair bright yellow, two trends I myself failed to uphold, making me feel a tad out of place.
As the seats and floor started filling slowly, the opening act for the night took to the stage. Drapht (AKA Paul Reid) an Australian local that made the trip all the way from Perth. He started the night off by welcoming us all and giving an introduction from himself and his guitarist, Timothy Nelson. The set kicked off with Sing It (The Life of Riley), pumping up the crowd firstly but getting everyone in the pit to wave and clap their hands along with him, psyching everyone for what was to come later. Three songs into the set, Drapht invited Timothy to drop the strings and perform the song that they share on his new album Arabella Street. The portion of the crowd that knew Drapht was up the front and waving their arms with Paul for all six of the songs that they got to perform in their half-hour set. I think it’s easy to say that their popularity will be getting a rise after this tour.
The crowd buzzed and grew, filling up the whole arena while the 30-minute wait (that felt like hours) was used to set the stage up. Twenty-One Pilots were back in Melbourne tonight on The Bandito Tour promoting their new album Trench that blessed this world and all ears who heard it.
Finally, the build-up track started, lights went out and everyone went crazy as Mr. Josh Dun took the stage in his hoodie and a bandana covering his face like a bandito, holding a flaming torch and walking across the stage. Just like magic, the one and only Tyler Joseph seemed to appear standing on a car in the middle of the stage with his famous mask on.
The night kicked off with the first song from their new album Jumpsuit. As soon as Josh laid down the beat and the lights started flashing, the car that Tyler was once standing on lit on fire, gaining screams and cheers from the adoring fans, myself included. Towards the end of this song, Tyler went to his piano, slowing the song right down and playing and singing slowly.
If I was to sit here and talk about every song that they played, we’d be here all day; so I’ll just fangirl over the best bits of the night. During the third song of the night Fairly Local, Tyler danced his way over to his piano and sat down as a member of the crew came and placed a sheet over Tyler’s body and piano. With the drop of the song, he disappeared and then seconds later re-appeared 30 rows up to the left of the stage standing in the crowd still singing until the end of the song where he took his mask off, revealing his adorable face.
Three songs later Tyler performed a cover of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love on the ukulele as a tour debut and honestly, I have never heard anything as beautiful. Another amazing song performed and executed was Car Radio towards the end of the night. Starting off the song perfectly with the little rap that everyone knew all too well. This was one of the biggest songs that went off, absolutely everyone in the whole arena was singing and rapping their hearts out and sounding so amazing as a collective. At the end of the song, Tyler hit us with a little more magic as he disappeared from the stage and started to climb up on a ledge that was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! He stood up on it and said hi to all sides of the crowd and finished off the song hard.
Although this concert played primarily their old songs, it was for their album Trench, and the songs that they did perform from that album were absolutely fantastic and it’s easy to say why the crowd went insane to every single song. I think Pet Cheetah was the best song performed from their new album as it just went off and had the whole audience singing at the top of their voices and dancing and jumping, the lighting was perfect, and it was performed better than it sounds on the track.
It’s little things that made the concert as good as it was. Tyler singing with his shirt over his head, jumping on top his piano, all his dancing, and how he constantly changed outfits to fit the songs. Also squaring up with the camera so it was projected on the big screens, standing at the edge of the crowd singing, and even making us boo at his lighting guy. And the way that Josh had so much energy drumming and flailing his arms everywhere, the backflip he did from the piano, how he constantly held a drumstick in the air or to his face, playing trumpet (which I wasn’t aware he could even do!) during We Don’t Believe What’s on TV, and of course… Josh getting shirtless!
The night turned out perfect and it was purely amazing to be able to look around and see as many people in one place to support the same thing and all there for the same reason. Looking around all I saw was phone lights, torches, and happy faces. It was the best night and I can’t wait to see them next time and hear what new music is to come.
Review Contributed by Miranda Allan
Gallery by Matt Allan
Gallery 2018, Australian Tour, Gallery, Live Nation Australia, Lynda Buchanan, Now, Rod Laver Arena, Shania Twain
Gallery by Lynda Buchanan
Shania Twain is touring nationally, tickets at livenation.com.au
Remaining tour dates
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – Dec 12
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – Dec 14 and 15
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2018, Australian Tour, Cassandra Hale, Live Nation Australia, Live Review, Lynda Buchanan, Melbourne, Now, Rod Laver Arena, Shania Twain
A stunning Melbourne night saw the fans streaming into Rod Laver Arena, now these aren’t any fans, these are those that worship at the altar of leopard print, and boy oh boy, the congregation of spots and stripes were on point tonight. They came in every shape and size and every colour pattern imaginable, one night where worshipers came together and ANY combination of said pattern was worn with pride.
Swiss-born Bastian Baker was the warm-up for the night, and he had the crowd eating out of his hands in minutes. Bastian gave us a 40-minute set full of pop country, just a guy and his guitar and didn’t we love him. Even a technical glitch didn’t stop him, no microphone no problem, let’s just have a sing-a-long with the crowd. His voice was amazingly good, and his cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah quite breathtaking, with Rod Laver lighting up like a Christmas tree as fans held their phones aloft enjoying this classic. It is rare to see a support have such a huge crowd response, but Bastian wowed us easily. I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be the last time we would see him for the night, and I was correct, but more on that later.
Rod Laver was packed to the roofline, an enormous turn out for the one and only Shania Twain, and while it has been over 15 years since her last trip Downunder, the faithful have been patiently waiting and turned out in leopard print-clad force to see this delightful Canadian perform live. The buzz was electric as we waited for the show to begin, then from nowhere the ear jarringly loud We Will Rock You rang out, the enthusiastic crowd clapping along knowing the wait was almost over. But there was no point watching the stage as Shania made a sneak attack from the rear and made her way through the crowd, high fiving as she went. A lovely up-close experience for all involved.
Dressed in a stunning sparkling gown, Shania opened the nights proceeding with Life’s About To Get Good, and she was right about that, not just good but great as Come On Over came next. The stage filled with amazing cubes that projected all sorts of colours and contrasts that would become a huge part of the evening’s entertainment. With no band to be seen, but definitely heard, Shania was only accompanied by her backing vocalists until the large cubes seamlessly glided across the floor to reveal the drummer and other musicians. Shania disappeared behind the cubes only to materialise on top for Up! And up she went almost to the ceiling, singing from the rafters, such a spectacle to watch as the cubes projected black and white patterns dancing to the beat of the music. Poor Me was sung from behind large see-through stage sized curtains that had a dancer projected on them, another stunning feature, just one of countless effects over the course of the show. Don’t Be Stupid saw the cubes turn into swimming pools and the band and dancers play from the top of them, vocally amazing Shania singing with ease and the crowd loving every minute.
That Don’t Impress Me Much saw the cubes turn to leopard print stacks, and the parishioners bowed down as Shania made a stunning entry wearing the feline attire herself. The fans took to their feet for this one, singing and dancing with abandoned joy. An absolutely killer drum solo rang out as the kit glided to the front of the stage, complete with a ‘kiss cam’ giving Shania a brief reprieve and time for another costume change. Returning sporting a gorgeous black ensemble with ruby red boots to sing more hits including Any Man Of Mine and Honey I’m Home. The band full of multitalented musicians filled the stage keeping us all occupied as Shania popped up at the rear of the venue on a rotating seat to play Still The One, the arena flooded with mobile phones held high making a gorgeous display to witness. Then our very own Shania Choir accompanied the real deal to the main stage and sang a cappella to her, the group decked out in identical animal print tops but not exclusive to women with a few men catching the low notes, who said beards and animal print clash?! Shania was openly stunned at how beautiful they sounded, what a brilliant moment for them all as they grabbed a hug and a selfie and left the stage.
From This Moment On saw the curtain drop again and the most exquisite flower grow in front of our eyes during this most beautiful song. As Shania hit the high notes I could feel my goose bumps rising, showing us she still has what it takes to leave you breathless. I’m Gonna Getcha Good saw the drums rise to the roof and all the dancers and musicians appearing in suits filled with lights, add to this the cubes lighting up with fluorescent lines and it made for an amazing backdrop. Bastian returned for Party For Two and Swinging With My Eyes Closed, and we were all happy to see him. A brief mention must be given to the band, backing vocalist and dancers, they were perfection all night, thoroughly entertaining to watch and held the show in the times that Shania was off stage. A brilliant performance by each and every one.
(If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here! Saw the fans dancing in their seats, the stage a flurry of flashing cubes and pictures, lighting hitting every mark, but there was still one song that remained elusive. As the band returned to play us a kick arse few minutes, it was coming, I could feel it in my waters, just one more costume change and we would lose our minds. The familiar intro rang out and we did just that, Rod Laver went to a craziness not seen all night and if sexy was a person it was Shania Twain! Decked out in a super short sparkly number with thigh high boots Shania owned the stage and rightly so, Man I Feel Like A Women is HER song and boy was it good. With the cubes floating in the air covered in footage of red sky and clouds we sang with gusto happy to take over the vocals. A most fitting ending to a sensationally entertaining night.
Tonight’s show left no doubt that Shania Twain is most definitely Still The One and if you get in quick you might still get a ticket for Wednesday nights show. It will impress you much!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Gallery by Lynda Buchanan
Shania Twain is touring nationally, tickets at livenation.com.au
Remaining tour dates
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – Dec 12
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – Dec 14 and 15