I went to primary school with Sarah Blasko and we were in the same class in Year 6. When I got her to sign a copy of her first album on her first tour, I brought up the fact that we were in Mr MacCarthy’s class together. “I thought you looked familiar,” was her reply. I was surprised she seemed to remember me as I was struck dumb in front of girls and she was quite shy herself – quite shy and very, very intelligent.
Blasko is touring in support of her new album Depth of Field which has rightly been lauded as her best album yet and up there with anyone’s work in popular music. It’s her bounciest album, sonically at least. I’m sure her fans are pleased that lyrically the album is just as introspective as ever and indeed the bounce of the music aids in the pointedness of some the lyrics, most notably on A Shot. The opening track, Phantom, appears to be about a relationship with God. On a superficial listen you can assume it’s about a lover, but as it reveals itself, it becomes not such a sweet prospect and becomes almost gothic. Everybody Wants to Sin is very goth. If there are any goth clubs still in existence, this one would fit in nicely at 3am. Heaven Sent is ripe with metaphysical speculation, although she does show some impatience with dreams of an afterlife.
Friday night’s show opened with the quick one-two of Phantom followed by A Shot, the first two tunes on Depth of Field. Blasko then confirmed what I suspected by announcing that she and her high quality band were going to play Depth of Field in its entirety. Like wasting food, this is the latest craze and I for one and am all for it in the hands of well-established act flogging new and outstanding albums – and that’s the case here.
The next song, Never Let Me Go is a crowd pleaser, one for any audience and indeed it went down a treat, but Everybody Wants to Sin was my favourite from the album set. Live, it was given an extra shot of aggression and sexuality as Blasko drove her message home. She is certainly a much more confident performer than the one I saw on her first tour and she totally abandoned herself to the music and the performance several times during the show, most notably in this number.
Making it Up is a dramatic tune, the story of a badly behaved male rock n’ roller and it worked extremely well. Second to last album track Read My Mind was superior as well and she hit the high notes nicely, a fine effort especially as she announced that she was battling the flu. This was only apparent when she nasally addressed the audience between songs, her singing was unaffected.
With Depth of Field delivered in style, it was time to delve into her back catalogue and the first oldie was I Am Ready from her previous album Eternal Return. It was absolutely magnificent, the highlight of the evening. Sarah Blasko’s religious upbringing has been well documented and I Am Ready felt like Hillsong on acid (a compliment in this context).
The pre-encore set wound down with a personal favourite from the I Awake album, God Fearing and All I Want, arguably Blasko’s best loved song.