I’m still not entirely sure how I wound up going to a Sara Bareilles show, but it’s a bit late for questioning now. My beautiful fiancé and I went in to the city to eat at Grill’d (best burgers in the world), spend too much money at Kinokuniya (best book store in the world), eat more at Max Brenner (best chocolate restaurant ever) and check out the hanging bird cages in Angel Place, Sydney City (not the most picturesque city in the world, but definitely the one with the most enthusiastic architecture).
We walked in, the lights went down and I sat back waiting for some dismal support act to come waddling on stage to generally waste everyone’s time, collect their $50 and go home. What we got instead was Sara Bareilles herself introducing the opening act and her trilby hat. The hat was kick ass and the support act was Ben Abraham, a solo acoustic singer from Melbourne (because all Australian solo acoustic acts that aren’t D at Sea come from Melbourne).
God damn, dude, this guy is good. I say that as a man who went to this show with a hoodie covered in The Chariot lyrics and a Make Them Suffer t-shirt. He has an amazing voice and is a brilliant guitar player. However, what stood out for me was his between song banter. The man is a stand up comedian masquerading as a musician. I was literally crying with laughter when he finished the first song and said “hi, I’m Ben and as you can probably tell from that song, I have a lot of feelings”, and then described himself as an Indonesian Missy Higgins.
He rolled through a short six-song half hour set, slaying the ladies and poking fun at everything from the government to his income to some kid who made fun of him on the oval in primary school. I had immense fun and I recommend him to anyone who likes music.
Of course, the main event was always Ms. Sara B, and she didn’t disappoint. Playing for an impressive ninety minutes and opening with “Let the Rain”, Ms. B just owned that room. She’s just a normal person that hasn’t let the fame get to her, and in fact actually seemed a little uncomfortable with the fame she’s attained. The story of the small hometown show where a man tried to throw himself at her and she spent a good few seconds trying to figure out if she knew (or was related to) him was a highlight, as was the selfie she took with some random girl who literally asked her if she could.
The small venue allowed fun stuff like that, but it also allowed a more intimate atmosphere to permeate through the small space. The fun, intimate atmosphere made the show feel less like a formal concert and more like hang time with your extended family. My highlight of the night was when someone yelled out “Happy Birthday Chantelle!”. Sara B, naturally, repeated “Happy Birthday, Chantelle” in an awkward way. This in turn elicited ecstatic shrieks from a woman who I assume was Chantelle, to which Sara laughed and conceded that she’d been had. Her cover of Sia‘s “Chandelier” was probably better than the original, and she introduced it by saying “I heard it and my first thought was ‘That bitch sings way too high!’, so I had to bring it back down to my capabilities”. I like a musician who’s open and aware of their limitations.
SB has an awesome voice and it’s better in a live setting. She also plays a mean piano, and her two back up players were tight as hell as well. Her frequent statements that alcohol and hard narcotics were more welcome than flowers were both amusing and a little unsettling, but she did state that that was merely a joke (I don’t believe you). She then invited Ben Abraham up to join her in stage to perform “December”, “Chasing the Sun”, and “This Is On Me”, a track written by Ben, before finishing with the delightfully vulgar “Sweet as Whole”, the slightly bitter “King of Anything”, and the uplifting “Brave” before the one song encore of “Gravity”.
In short, the show was awesome and if you weren’t there, you missed out. ‘Nuff said.
Let the Rain
Love on the Rocks
Come Round Soon
Chandelier [Sia cover]
Chasing the Sun
This Is On Me
I Choose You
Sweet As Whole
King of Anything