Sarah Blasko @ The Astor Theatre
w/ Cameron Avery
Thursday, July 6, 2016
A combination of not knowing what to expect and yet expecting it all meant the foyer to the Astor Theatre in Perth was absolutely buzzing for The Soloist Tour on Thursday night. But once the theatre doors were quietly swung open and an usher lit the way to your seat the building anticipation became inaudibly charged, a current igniting in bursts as the audience laughed and cheered the musicians on, before falling back into utter silence. From a career in the making, Sarah Blasko came full circle, displaying just how naturally raw yet skilfully sophisticated her musicianship stood.
Swishing a trench coat, support act Cameron Avery wooed the theatre with an air of rough sincerity, instinctively beguiling an intimate familiarity from the thousand capacity venue. Trying to reminisce about the last time he played solo in Perth as a “smashed” 21 year old he alternated between piano and guitar for tracks Wasted on Fidelity, Big Town Girl and Disposable with gritty vocals that went just above the bluesy rock ballad standard. Wrapping up the laughs from the floor as he dedicated Cest Toi to his mother in the audience before quickly retracting it, he explained the song was about the love of his life and instead devoted it to Sue in the front row to alleviate any weirdness.
Under an eerie side of centre spotlight, Sarah Blasko emerged onto the fog drenched stage, a calm eccentricity evolving as she opened the show with a bare Down On Love to the swiftly enthralled assembly. A minute crack on a single note was the only prelude to a confession that Blasko was under the weather, hoarse introductions and dainty sniffs between songs were all we heard of it thereafter as she powered through her striking discography without fault. Dancing across stage waving frill draped sleeves in playful elegance, Blasko rotated through piano and keys, drum pad, acoustic and ukulele for each track, aiming for the slow paced illusion of a full band across the large stage.
New songs from her upcoming release such as Read My Mind received just as much attention as the stripped back I Wanna Be Your Man. Blasko was mesmerising in her ability to capture the latter, full-hearted track between light falsetto, whispered chorus backing and deeper verses with a few keys at her fingertips. We Won’t Run closed of the set as a few ladies took a chance down the aisle for a dance by the stage, a classical applause raining down for her encore before the haunting All I Want and melancholy cover of Cold Chisel’s Flame Trees left the theatre awestruck.
As divinely wistful, spirited and achievably cosy on such a grand scale as could be hoped for, Sarah Blasko’s Soloist Tour was dreamily satisfactory. While you were left with a small craving of something a little less simple – a multi instrumental arrangement more complex and mighty – it was hard to deny the pure modesty of her singular voice, able as it was to stir a whole venue.
Photos by Stuart McKay Photography