Live Review: Sam Smith, Emma Louise

10 December 2015 | 2:20 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"Smith introduces a song he penned at the age of 19, "The first honest song I ever wrote": 'I've Told You Now'."

More Sam Smith More Sam Smith

Wow, GA is chockers and really squishy toward the front long before opening act Emma Louise takes the stage. Louise channels early Annie Lennox these days in that elegantly cut plaid suit and with her funky, cropped, platinum locks. Hers is music for jilted uni students (which is a worthy demographic). Cheers go up when Louise introduces Jungle, which then gallops along with double-drum urgency. And, yes, that song's a syncer's dream.

In the darkness we hear Life Support live. The instrumentation wafts out from behind two rows of black curtains, the front one featuring an outline sketch of Smith's profile that's akin to his mates Disclosure's artwork. The back curtain drops. Screams that could only come from the three Gs (Girls, Gays and Grannies) fill the stadium. The front curtain drops and there he is: The Man Of The (Lonely) Hour. Sam Smith's voice is so pure. He's looking svelte these days (personal trainer and chef?) and if those are not eyelash extensions we need his mascara. 

He apologises for not completing his last Australian tour and then promises to make it up to us this evening. Leave Your Lover sees the front rows singing every lyric back at Smith while brandishing smartphones. Not sure we'd usually advocate homewrecking/white-anting/whatever you wanna call it, but somehow one can't help but root for Smith. He sports a smart suit with a T-shirt underneath (where a crisp shirt would've better suited) and cross ear studs. Smith introduces a song he penned at the age of 19, "The first honest song I ever wrote": I've Told You Now. (He recently had the word "honesty" tattooed on his arm.) Some of Smith's, "I love you so much," proclamations come across as a bit much. His trio of backing vocalists supply delicious harmonies during Like I Can ("Can. Can"). Judging by the volume of the crowd sing-long, all assembled have belted this out (with extreme emotion) many times. Smith's backup singers then join him across the front of the stage and he talks us though some unison sidestepping. He's actually quite a smooth mover. A tribute to Amy Winehouse (Tears Dry On Their Own) leaves us wondering whether some of Smith's fans might be discovering the ill-fated singer for the first time tonight. The song is spliced with a segment of Ain't No Mountain High Enough, during which these unparalleled backing vocalists are granted individual solos through which to dazzle.

"These songs are no longer my songs, they're your songs," Smith announces before Not In That Way becomes Elvis Presley's Can't Help Falling In Love as if by way of example. It's pared back with just piano and cello accompaniment at this point, which perfectly showcases Smith's pitch. Then it's the completely desperate devastation of Lay Me Down. La La La, Naughty Boy's song that Smith features on, is a belter that somehow turns a hook that should be annoying into a poignant choon. Smith calls out "this person" he worked with in the early days who only makes music for the money as the inspiration behind Money On My Mind (which then mashes up with Ce Ce Peniston's exuberant Finally).

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Because we're yet to hear a couple of Smith's hits, an encore's a given. Latch is somehow jubilant and makes a very therapeutic sing-along. Because he doesn't wanna end the show on a downer with yet another unrequited love song, Smith then plays a new song that he recorded in the studio with Howard Lawrence (Disclosure) and Jim Napes: Make It To Me (which is kind of like his very-own Dear Future Husband). Smith expertly closes with Stay With Me (which we obviously can't). A punter holds up a banner that reads, "Stay With Melb," which Smith may not realise is an abbreviation of Melbourne.

Post-concert we hear Latch, Disclosure's version, pumping from a passing car stereo and kinda like it when Smith gets his dance on.