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By Charlie David Page
15th February 2013

There are some performers whom you never tire of seeing play live; for myself, Gotye, Sufjan Stevens and Sarah Blasko top the list. Include the opportunity to see them performing with the country's best orchestras, and the opportunity becomes all the more enticing.

Such was the performance on Valentine's Day, no less, at Melbourne's Hamer Hall, as Sarah Blasko and her band collaborated with Orchestra Victoria. Granted, the musician was the first to admit her set list wasn't really appropriate for the day; nonetheless, she kept the audience under her spell for close to 90 minutes.

The night began with a fittingly eerie rendition of 'Explain', before moving onto songs from 'As Day Follows Night' and, inevitably, 'I Awake'. These two albums lend themselves sublimely to accompaniment from an orchestra, truly bringing Sarah's music to life.


The titular track for the latter album was truly astonishing, becoming a rambunctious animal on the stage, growing in front of your eyes from the drum beat. 'Bird On A Wire' was a swinging sensation, the boisterous double bass enticing beneath Sarah's mesmerising melodies. In a change of pace, 'Here' saw the orchestra soar, with a number taken straight from a musical.

The entire show took us back to a bygone era - the focus of the night truly was on the music. Sarah herself was dressed in black, the band and orchestra were fitted out to the nines. Though they may have been playing second fiddle (no pun intended), Orchestra Victoria put on a first-rate show, working with, not against, the band beautifully. The lighting was creative without being intrusive; the low-angled lights at the front of stage were particularly effective, casting towering silhouettes of Sarah and the band across the set.

'I Awake' was truly astonishing, becoming a rambunctious animal on the stage, growing in front of your eyes from the drum beat.

Sarah Blasko is fixating as a singer; she steps out from behind the piano this tour for all but one song. Though softly-spoken, she produces such a phenomenally tremendous sound. Sarah moves about the stage with confidence, seemingly consumed by the music, moving assentingly with it.

This performance deserves to be a yardstick for live shows. Orcestra Victoria added a warmth and vehemence to the music, with sounds that fittingly filled Hamer Hall. Moreso, Sarah is an immaculate performer, with a voice to be marvelled. Truly deserving of the standing ovation received, this is one of the most rewarding shows I've had the pleasure of taking in for a long while.

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ARTIST: Sarah Blasko
BEGAN: 1995
FROM: Sydney
SOUND: Indie Pop
FACEBOOK: sarahblaskomusic
TWITTER: @sarahblasko
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