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By Charlie David Page
9th January 2014

There is no Australian artist who performs live quite as honestly and beautifully as Sarah Blasko - as my previous reviews will affirm. So when it was announced she would be releasing a live album, I responded with great fervour.

The collection of tracks is taken from Sarah's most recent tour, where she travelled the country, ambitiously working with a different orchestra in each state. In this instance, she was collaborating with the Sydney International Orchestra in a sold-out show.

Although officially titled 'I Awake Live At Sydney Opera House', there's a little something from all of Sarah's recent albums. The evening commences with a track from 'What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have', and one of her most gut-wrenching songs, 'Explain'. In the live environment, the track is stripped back, Sarah's haunting vocals front and centre, with the orchestra joining abruptly mid-song, amplifying the darkness and foreboding.


We then get a taste of 'As Day Follows Night' - there's an elegant rendition of 'All I Want', rich with strings; a groovy version of 'Bird On A Wire' laden with double bass; the woodwind gets a workout in this live performance of 'Lost And Defeated'; and 'Sleeper Awake' will lull you into a dream-like state.

Sarah and the Sydney International Orchestra then launched into the album 'I Awake'. Given that it was originally recorded with the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, it translates beautifully into the live arena. This part of the performance is about the grace and beauty of the combined efforts of these talented musicians - the orchestra, band and Sarah create a laminous work of art.

Sarah Blasko knows precisely how to knock an audience off its feet.

The collaborative accomplishments on this album are stunning - 'An Arrow', 'God-Fearing' and 'An Oyster A Pearl' are exquisite and dreamy. Yet without a doubt, the highlight is the stormy 'I Awake', its steady, never-ending drumbeat an underlying force as the song's ferocity progressively grows, with the sinister violin undertones slowly bubbling to the surface. Sarah flexes her voice, displaying her full vocal range.

Sarah Blasko knows precisely how to knock an audience off its feet. Her live performances are to be marvelled at, least of all when backed by an orchestra. As such, 'I Awake Live At Sydney Opera House' has captured one of these evenings for fans to enjoy at their leisure. Without a doubt, this is the next best thing to seeing Sarah face-to-face.

Like it? Follow it. Follow Sarah Blasko's Huddle at the top of this page (you'll have to sign in or join up first) for the latest tour details, news and reviews from the artist.

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