LIVE REPORTGREEN STAGE7/27 SAT
Bombastic Battle Pop
It’s fair to say that this is not the report I was hoping to write. As the 5000 thousand-odd people who determinedly packed themselves into the Green Stage will know, conditions for SIA’s performance on Saturday were difficult to say the least. Many a punter took a tumble in the mud trying to slip through the crowd to see the pop superstar sing on, but the torrent of rain made for challenging viewing. This particular writer was not only squelching from one foot to another in her hiking boots but struggled to see much through her specs except blurred lights and distant TV screens through the cannonade of water falling from the sky. Mind you, I stayed for the whole show so it was nonetheless compelling.
It’s a testament to SIA’s headliner draw that so many people braved the elements to see her. Ever the enigmatic stage presence, the singer took to the rear of the rear and allowed her troupe of dancers to front the performance for her, their storytelling adding further nuance and impact, particularly as many of their displays can make for discomforting viewing. The sight of a suited man wearing shoulder pads made of enormous hands slapping and punching himself is certainly not for everyone. The violent theme continued with the slower arrangement of “Titanium” in which two animal-headed characters inflicted injuries upon one another. Meanwhile, during “The Greatest”, dancer Maddie put her head through sheets of glass.
While Janelle Monae’s performance on Friday wowed with it’s slick production, this performance felt distant because of it. “Elastic Heart” and “Chandelier” powerfully recreated their video performances, but one was left with the feeling overall that one may as well have been at home watching on TV. With such a well-rehearsed stage show there’s not much that can be done about this, but it would have been nice to see some engagement from the stage to brighten the spirits of those down in the wet melee. Gaps between songs seemed interminably long to some, with unintelligible whispering and pre-recorded video – for every pause, there was a new exodus of people announcing that they’d seen enough and were off to seek higher and drier ground.
That all being said, it was an absolute pleasure to see SIA performing in the flesh. Her bombastic brand of pop was on point and nicely reworked to keep things fresh, the performances powerful and and emotive. Worth getting drenched for? Definitely.