All Hallows Eve is always a magical night in Melbourne, and tonight sees Sam Smith play night one of two capacity shows of their Gloria World Tour at Rod Laver Arena. The walk to our entertainment precinct along the mighty Yarra river was one peppered with spooky revellers, many dressed to impress on the night where even the most diverse could feel right at home. As I drew closer to Rod Laver the sights became much more impressive, many taking advantage of seeing Sam Smith on Halloween to indulge in their wildest fantasies. Knowing they could safely be who or what they wanted without fear or judgement was so refreshing, the vibe was one of unity and joy and was like a breath of fresh air.
As I joined the rapidly expanding floor Meg Mac was taking to the stage. What a lovely performance to watch, Meg’s voice had so many layers and her music was engaging from start to finish. Her soulful tunes resonated with all, having her sister Hannah on backing vocals and her friend Danielle complete the stella line up. When Meg sang Letter she was solo with just her keyboardist for company, it was a standout track and showcased her stunning voice, a real showstopper! While the set was only 30 minutes she packed in plenty and I will gladly go and see her again in the future.
After a brief break the stage came to life with a stunning giant gold statuette laying across the entire length. The drums and piano elevated behind the mass of gold with a staircase just under the butt to facilitate easy access to all areas of the stage. Glowing devil horns dotted every corner of Rod Laver, the perfect Halloween adornment which set a stunning view from every angle. As the lights went down Rod Laver came to life, the screams of excitement and joy bounced from the roof as Sam Smith made their way across the statue complete with flowing gold cape and corset. Their confidence from the first moment on stage as they strutted was joyous to watch and I could not wait to see what the night delivered. Broken into four sections beginning with Prelude we were taken on a Sam Smith journey through time, Stay With Me, I’m Not The Only One and Like I Can perfect additions to the opening set. Sam adorned in gold from head to feet as were their musicians and backing vocalists.
Part l: Love was up next, and the hits kept coming with Perfect, Diamonds, How Do You Sleep and Dancing With A Stranger which Sam made sure had everyone on their feet dancing. The enjoyment radiating from the fans was overwhelming with glowing fans waving in the air, people swaying with arms aloft, the unity was incredible, and Rod Laver felt awash with inclusion. There was never a doubt of Sam’s love for Australia and the support they have been shown here, they were overwhelmed with affection and quite emotional at times.
Part ll: Beauty Sam appeared in the most spectacular of frocks to which they called ‘How do you like my dress? It’s really fucking heavy’ this was met with peals of laughter as they made their way into I’m Kissing You and Lay Me Down which had phone torches on maximum setting a stunning accompaniment for this beautiful song. It was now that lightness met darkness and the show took on a mind of its own as pulsing lights surrounded the stage and Sam appeared in yet another costume change. Draped in black from head to toe with top hat adorned with silver devil horns, Gimme rang out. The stage awash with sexy dancers which Sam joined and mixed it with the best of them as they strutted all the moves to perfection. Lose You, Promises, I’m Not Here To Make Friends were welcome additions to the setlist, and saw Sam in a luxurious pink layered floor length extravaganza of a jacket. The stage was charged with laser lights flashing in overdrive, the venue was humming with infectious happiness, what a delight it was to witness. A rainbow of lasers and lighting lit up the stage for the Donna Summer cover of I Feel Love as Sam made his departure and left it to the dancers to see out part ll with their spectacular moves.
Part lll: Sex took Rod Laver to new heights as Sam appeared in a sheer full body covering complete with crown. It covered their face and with their arms held wide it felt like the we were in the church of Gloria and Sam Smith was our preacher. It was about now that the junior members of the night’s congregation needed to cover their eyes as the raunchy metre hit 11. Sam was unveiled to be wearing not a lot, a black thong and cobweb pasties, fishnets and thigh high black boots pretty much sums it up as they launch into a cover of Madonna’s Human Nature. The stage then turned red with Sam dressed in yet another corset and devil top hat, I was mesmerised as they slid, ground and wove around the stage accompanied by the scintillating dancers. It was sexy, it was saucy, and it was bloody extraordinary. With once last addition to the wardrobe Sam returned with a red flowing robe de chambre and a glittering pitchfork, as the final strains of Unholy rang out.
If there was one place I would have wanted to spend Halloween it was at Rod Laver Arena with the one and only Sam Smith. They brought so much joy to so many people in a loving, united environment and it was absolutely delightful to be a part of it.
Review By Suze Blacketer
Adelaide has not been short of musical choice lately. This week, coming to us from The Gov, it was the incredible Meg Mac, touring her latest album ‘Matter of Time’.
Starting our evening Ayesha Madon delighted the crowd with her pop peppered songs. A quick Q&A with the crowd revealed that this was Ayesha’s first tour. Even more surprising was that her drummer is actually her brother-in-law, and they were playing together for the first time on this tour.
Starting with one of her earlier releases, Outside of the Party, she bopped around on the stage while engaging with the crowd. Sucked In saw her relax a bit more and Ayesha looked to relax more as the show went on.
Talking to us between songs, Ayesha was open in how her songs talk about mental health issues and how that is something that she is passionate about. Goldfish and Cloud played as those on the floor moved their bodies. Wanting to play a song that the crowd could get around and sing along to, we were treated to a cover of The Climb by Miley Cyrus. All those Hannah Montanna fans got around this one. Showing her prowess on the keyboard and the guitar, Ayesha Madon is someone to keep your eye on as she continues to produce great tunes.
Gratitude for the crowd that had come early to watch her set, Ayesha finished with Future Kinks.
Wall to wall people packed the venue as Meg Mac glided across the stage enshrouded in a sparkling cape. The opening notes of the title track of her album float across the room, the crowd cheering in anticipation. Meg Mac’s silky, emotional vocals wash over us, and the goosebumps begin. Following on with Turning bodies begin to sway and little pockets of space become the place to dance.
Meg greets the crowd and thanks them for coming, saying how she was sorry that she didn’t get to come here on her last tour. The crowd gave an audible sigh as Meg went on to say how it broke her heart to read the comments and thanked us for selling out this show. This album is a special one as is the tour. As Meg explained she took so long to make this album, writing a complete album only to throw it in the bin and go on to write Matter Of Time.
Something In The Water, which Meg tells us is one of her favourites off the album, is a beautiful powerful song and it is delivered as such. Every face was mesmerized, witnessing something magically spellbinding. Such meaningful and relatable lyrics. Give Me My Name Back and Meg tells a story about how they like to sit on the edge of the stage when singing this one but tonight they couldn’t as we wouldn’t see them! They tried stools but it felt like a Q&A session, so they stood. A beautiful moment at the end of this song was a sisterly hug that had the crowd smiling.
Don’t You Cry was one of my favourite moments from the evening, it is such a beautiful song. Moving on to the Like A Version songs that Meg has done, she tells the story of how she placed a poll on Instagram to see which one we wanted to hear. Sadly, someone booed her on the Sydney leg because they wanted Bridges and got Tame Impala’s Let It Happen which I think was an excellent choice!
Meg tells us how hard it is when you release new music as you need to say goodbye to some of the songs in your setlist and how she had put another poll on Instagram to see what people wanted to hear, surprised that Brooklyn Apartment was requested. She told the story of how she wrote this song while living in an apartment in Brooklyn that had paper thin walls, writing about the people who lived in the building.
Meg’s favourite part of the evening was playing the song Letter, telling us that she spent hours writing the letters to send to all the fans, everyone one of them kissed by her and the constant reapplying of lipstick to make it happen. She also told the story behind the song, of writing a letter to someone no longer in her life and it ended up becoming a song, and how she writes letters to strangers instead!
Known Better and Roll Up Your Sleeves finishing the evening with the clayton’s encore – Meg telling us she chickened out from leaving the stage in case we didn’t clap for her to come back so she just played them!
Meg Mac in a small intimate venue is a magical experience, sprinkled with stories and anecdotes about the songs. I know every audience member truly appreciated how special our evening was.