Live Review: Fred again.. @ Rod Laver Arena

6 March 2024 | 1:58 pm | Michael Prebeg

Since teasing his arrival Down Under, Fred Gibson, aka Fred again.. has continued to stir up a frenzy across the country with surprise shows across the East Coast.

Fred again..

Fred again.. (Source: Supplied)

More Fred Again.. More Fred Again..

Following a sold-out surprise show at the Sydney Opera House last week, a morning set at Revolver and a rave at the Timberyard in Melbourne over the weekend, tonight Fred again.. plays his second night of three sold-out shows at Rod Laver Arena. 

There’s no surprise this spur-of-the-moment tour sold out almost immediately since the British musician last visited the country as a headliner for Laneway Festival 2023. After blowing up during Covid lockdowns with his critically acclaimed Actual Life trilogy series of pandemic-era albums, the mania follows him wherever he goes as he continues to build momentum to become one of the hottest electronic acts in the world right now. 

JOY (ANONYMOUS), a London-based duo collective including Henry Counsell and Louis Curran, starts things off with some feel-good dance tracks to warm up the crowd. Joy describes themselves as a collective movement of happiness where people feel included and safe to share expression and emotion, and they try to capture that in their sound with a unifying blend of house, disco and gospel club anthems. They ask us to put our hands together, intertwine our fingers and call for us to enter a lifetime membership to their club.

We watch a vertical screen show live footage as Fred again.. makes his way up to the stage and positions himself in front of the piano, surrounded by various instruments. As he begins to play the keys, text shows up on the screen to introduce himself. “Since we landed here almost a year ago, we have been planning how to come back because it is the best place in the world. I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a while, and we don’t take this for granted,” he states.

With his brother Tony by his side on stage, they try something they’ve never done before. Fred again.. continues to take things up a notch with live drumming at an intense pace along with heavy electronic beats. This new, levelled-up arena show combines incredible strobing visuals overhead as well a vertical phone-like screen behind to show real-time footage of Fred again.. on stage and ensure it still feels like an intimate rave but fit for a much bigger audience than normal.

After a few songs, he asks the front section of the floor crowd to make way for him to move through to a second smaller stage set up towards the back of the general admission area. This creates an even more intimate setting for this part of his set, where he plays some of his heavier USB bangers, including Turn On The Lights again.. (feat. Future) and Rumble. A square screen hovers above him and lights up with a pulsing strobe effect while slowly lowering from the ceiling as the pressure builds. The crowd gets rowdy and completely loses themselves in the moment as he lets loose with some huge drops that flood our eardrums and vibrate through our bodies. 

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We all try to catch our breath together for a minute, but he can’t resist continuing as he goes at an insane pace, tapping away at his drum machine loaded with bouncy rhythms laced with bits of grime, trap, and hip-hop. He manages to pull himself away from the podium and moves back to the main stage. He finally catches his breath as he plays the piano for a moment to calm the mood. 

“In a way, these songs have become more yours than mine,” Fred again.. says as he dedicates adore u to all our siblings. The screens above project blue sky landscapes, and we are completely present in the moment as we feel the euphoric emotion that brings us all together in a dance frenzy. He takes time to build up the next song, Marea (we’ve lost dancing), starting on piano and building up to a huge exhilarating moment that makes us appreciate being together in an arena filled with people raving as one.

“I went to some live shows recently, and the thing that I realised most is that what makes the show incredible is the crowd. At these shows, it makes me want to tell you how grateful I am that you make it as incredible as you do because it is 90 per cent you,” Fred again.. declares. He continues to play Delilah (pull me out of this), and Billie (loving arms), and the crowd goes mental once more.

Fred again.. has the ability to create a one-of-a-kind experience unlike any other EDM show, and his music becomes therapy for those who experience it as we project our own experiences onto it. His genuine, organic style is wholesome and brings us together in a connectedness that highlights the importance of living in the moment and sharing experiences with others. He truly loves doing what he does, and it shines through in every aspect of his production. 

For a big finale, he brings out one of his favourite singers of all time, who he is honoured to have sampled in a song. Melbourne’s very own Angie McMahon comes out to join him on stage for Angie (i’ve been lost), and it’s a very special moment as McMahon sings live on stage with him for the emotional track. Phone torches light up the arena as we continue singing along and follow an outro reprise of Billie (loving arms) as he exits the stage.