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[Review] The Corrs @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 6/11/2023

For those that have known me for a very long time, know that I am a huge fan of The Corrs. HUGE. Even borderline obsessive when I went through a stage of wanting to be them! So, when the opportunity arose for me to finally see my childhood idols in the flesh for the very first time, you bet I was counting down the days until their arrival. The Irish pop group have been touring Australia & New Zealand, and Melbourne was the last stop on their Australian leg of the tour before heading over the ditch to visit our Kiwi cousins.

Headed to Rod Laver on a beautiful balmy 28-degree night, I was met with fellow revellers of all ages that were hyped by a combination of the magnificent weather and anticipation of the night ahead.

Adelaide sister act Germein were the first of the three support acts of the evening to hit the stage. The trio entertained with their fun and heartfelt pop songs, and their inner beauty and humble nature, along with their musical talent, really made them shine on stage. Next on the bill was American-born singer-songwriter, Toni Childs. Toni came out on stage to a quiet reception from the audience, but then proceeded to completely blow everyone out of the water with her distinct sound and powerhouse vocals singing one of her biggest hits, I’ve Got To Go Now. Despite the years gone by and her age, not only does she look amazing, but her pipes are still absolutely incredible and they never faltered once. Toni sang a few of her other older hits including Stop Your Fussin’ and Don’t Walk Away, which had the audience well and truly eating out of her hand. As she ventured into some of her newer material, the audience were thoroughly enjoying themselves, and even more so when she came down into the crowd for her final song. Toni ventured through the audience shaking hands as she delivered her final song which was full of hope, encouragement, and reminding people that they are beautiful, intelligent and worthy.    

Australian sweetheart Natalie Imbruglia was the last support act of the night to warm up the punters – and that is exactly what she did. Natalie kicked off with some older hits Wishing I Was There, Wrong Impression Shiver, before leading into a small catalogue of her newer stuff. The crowd were loving every minute of her amazing vocals and high-energy set, but you knew everyone was waiting to hear THE song. When the opening bars of Torn started, the crowd erupted and sang along to every word of the 90’s hit. Natalie then finished off with my personal favourite Big Mistake, and it was at this point in the night that I realised I had actually entered a time machine and was now well and truly planted back in 1997.    

It was now that my heart rate started to increase, and my excitement was making me nauseous because I knew it was time for my favourite Irish band to hit the stage. Now when I say that I used to be obsessed with The Corrs, I’m not lying. Growing up, my musical weapon of choice of was the flute(these skills are easily transferable to a tin whistle), and my best friend who loved The Corrs equally as much was a violinist. So, we would spend our weekends covering their songs and doing our own arrangements, and when we weren’t doing that, we were watching their live DVD’s over and over again for inspiration. You get the tragic picture now?    

The houselights go down and we’re met with vision on the screens of The Corrs walking down a long corridor, as the goosebumps on my skin are nearly busting right through the surface. Pre-recorded celtic instrumental music accompanies the footage and keeps building up and up into a crescendo. Once the music hits that peak, an almost tribal-like drumbeat kicks in and that’s when The Corrs’ drummer Caroline appears in the singular spotlight on an otherwise dark stage, beating those drums as if her life depends on it. The beat stops abruptly, and the electric guitar intro to Only When I Sleep kicks in and that is when we get our first glimpse of the Corr siblings. By this stage, the tears have well and truly started flowing and all I can think is “Thank god it’s dark in here so no one can see me being a blubbering idiot”.  

With Andrea’s beautiful soaring vocals in this opening number, I knew then that this was going to be an incredible show and that the band haven’t lost a single thing. Give Me A Reason Summer Sunshine got the crowd bopping along, and everyone was in their absolute element. With a now dark stage, the spotlight was on violinist Sharon, who started playing the iconic instrumental Erin Shore. The crowd went mental not only for her stunning playing, but for the fact that they knew this was the introduction for The Corrs early smash hit, Forgiven Not Forgotten. Jim’s keyboard hit us with that iconic piano riff, and it was on. I’ve probably heard and even sung this song approximately 406,282 times in my life, but hearing it live in the flesh was like hearing it for the first time and loving it all over again. This was also the first song of the night where Caroline’s bodhrán made its appearance, and I’m always completely in awe watching her play it.   

Next on the list was the unrequited love track,What Can I Do. Andrea joked that singing this always worked in getting the guy, however Sharon hilariously retorted that in doing so meant “you usually got the wrong dude at the end.” It’s no secret that The Corrs have covered Fleetwood Mac tracks in the past, and even collaborated with Mick Fleetwood. So, it was only fitting that they covered Fleetwood’s Little Lies, in tribute to the late Christine McVie. After Don’t Say You Love Me, we were treated to their stunningly beautiful cover of Jimi’s Hendrix’s tune Little Wing. Despite also being a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, I would have to say that this is probably my most favourite song that they have ever covered. With the poetic lyrics and their Celtic touch, the song really is a moving and emotional journey. It was time for Andrea to take a quick break from the stage, leaving Sharon & Caroline on lead vocals to sing the Jimmy MacCarthy song, No Frontiers. Their rendition of this has always been a favourite of mine, and it has to be said that you can be the most talented vocalist in the world with the ability for killer harmonies, but nothing beats the smooth butter-like sound of siblings harmonising together(It’s also scientific fact!). This song is a stripped-back prime example of this, where both Sharon & Caroline’s voice blend so well that they sound like one.   

It was then time to get up and have a jig around to the instrumental Joy of Life, before being led into one of their newer tracks about immigrating called, Ellis Island. We were back into another instrumental number with Haste To The Wedding, and it is seriously impossible not to move around and feel happy when listening to these pieces. Radio was next which then led into another of my favourite’s (and also my bestie’s favourite too), Queen of Hollywood. It’s such a beautiful and sad song and the lyrics get me every single time. We were then treated to another Fleetwood cover of Dreams, and despite being a sucker for the original, I just adore this arrangement and their little Irish spin they put on it to make it sound even more incredible. My gut was telling me that we were nearing the end of the show, but I was hopeful for an encore as they fired up with So Young. This got the whole crowd up and dancing and there was just so much love and happiness in the room. The band struck while the iron was hot and kept the crowd up dancing and singing along with, I Never Loved You Anyway.   

We went through the motions of a fake goodbye before we welcomed them back for an encore. No Corrs gig would ever be complete without hearing Runaway, so that was the first song waiting for us in the encore. However, the crowd took it upon themselves to give Andrea a break and provide the lead vocals for this track, and every single person in the place was singing along. Everyone was left Breathless for the next track, before they rounded out their encore with the iconic instrumental piece Toss The Feathers. It was a sad farewell as The Corrs wished us goodnight and left the stage, and I was left wondering what I was going to do with my life now that the show was over.  

If I had to sum up this show in one word? Flawless. In every sense of the word. The Corrs are an incredible talent, and time has certainly not aged them or their music. This gig was an absolute dream come true for the chubby little 12-year-old girl who loved playing the flute and listening to The Corrs on repeat, and for the now 34-year-old body and mind in which she now resides. A truly magical night all round with a huge array of talent. You’ll be sad that you missed it!   

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