Sarah Blasko @ 170 Russell

Saw the incredible and ever-enchanting Sarah Blasko last night. I’ve seen her live a few times before, but this concert might have been my favourite, despite the late starting time.

I felt a bit wiped out after the working week, and wanted nothing more than plant myself on the couch with my cat and late-night TV for company, so I decided to skip the opening act, a Melbourne artist called Ryan Downey. I arrived just in time to catch the last couple of songs, and in retrospect I was sorry to miss out – if nothing else the guy has one of the most arresting male voices I’ve heard in a long while, a rich deep baritone reminiscent of Leonard Cohen or Nick Cave in his crooning mode. Instantly sold. The last song he and his band performed was a superb cover of Eurythmics’ Love Is A Stranger, which earned them rapturous applause.

I of course expected to hear plenty of songs off Depth of Field, Sarah Blasko’s latest album, but after the opening song she self-deprecatingly asked the audience to forgive their self-indulgence, as they were in fact going to play the full album from start to finish. Luckily, six albums into her career she’s yet to fall into the trap of diminishing returns and I love the new record, so I wasn’t crying nooooooo I came here for the old stuff on the inside. Listening to a full album does rob the concert of unpredictability as you know in advance which song follows next, but on the other hand a show with a single artistic vision has its charms. They did play older songs after they were done with Depth of Field, though they were clearly picked to complement the newer, electronic-leaning material.

Sarah’s otherworldly voice was in fine shape, and her quirky, theatrical onstage presence is always compelling. She’s perhaps a tad too aloof for some people, but personally I like a bit of mystique, and in between songs she was humble and loveable, constantly thanking the audience for their warm and enthusiastic reception. Maybe because it was their final show for the tour, Sarah seemed especially impassioned this time around, and great time was had by all.

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