A happy return for Sarah Blasko, gender-breaking

Sarah Blasco
State Theater, March 24
Also on April 2 at Roche Estate, Pokolbin

“I’m having a great time, I don’t know anyone else. It’s been tough… but we’re here together now,” Sarah Blasko told her Sydney audience.

Being to a packed house isn’t something anyone took for granted, as Blasko gave it his all during the delayed 10th anniversary celebrations of 2009’s landmark album, As day follows night.

In an age of streaming and setlists filled with greatest hits, the decision to perform the album in its entirety was refreshing.

Sarah Blasko’s performance at the State Theater was a party.Credit:Janie Barrett

The title of the album is a riff on advice provided by Polonius in Hamlet, so it was only fitting that actor Brendan Cowell, who played the title role in Blasko’s musical involvement in the 2008 Sydney Theater Company production, introduced his friend by calling her “powerful, another world and authentic”. The performance lived up to those words.

Blasko’s sound defies categorization, his voice oscillating between soft vulnerability and haunting tonal textures in the openings. Down on love and All that I wantmoving and hovering in We won’t run and No turning back.

Vocalizing into a second mic on each track, she is able to navigate registers effortlessly even within a single phrase, notably in the delicacy of Is my baby yours? and poetic Night Day.

When he wasn’t singing, Blasko entertained effortlessly, combining theatrical movement with the feeling of an old friend reflecting on a tumultuous time in his life.

The performance’s spell was broken a bit when Blasko returned for an encore of showtunes and other favorites such as Xanadu.

But it was his celebration, allowing him to show looser moves and more of his jazz and indie-rock chops. And the crowd was thrilled to hear more from an endearing and unapologetic Blasko, who showed there’s power in choosing to celebrate what brings joy.

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