Live Review: Sia, MO, Charli XCX, Amy Shark

1 December 2017 | 2:32 pm | Michael Prebeg

"We can't really see much of Sia but it doesn't matter because it's her incredibly powerful voice that we came to hear."

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Black and white wigs and Nostalgic For The Present tour T-shirts flood the stadium as punters hit the merch stands and dress the part.

Amy Shark is first up on the huge line-up of female artists tonight. "The first time I heard a Sia song I was in high school and just like you I fell in love straight away," she tells us. "Wow! If I only knew back then that I'd be supporting this incredible woman at the end of what has been an incredible year for me. This is the best feeling!" She exclaims, before singing Weekends. It's her first ever stadium show and she acts like it's all hers.

Charli XCX stands on top of a shiny silver platform in sequined pants and a Puma crop top ready to start the party and the afterparty all in the space of 30 minutes. She zooms through her hits Boys, Boom Clap and popular collaborations she's done with Mura Masa, Icona Pop, David Guetta and Iggy Azalea. "Let's fucking party!" she screams. Her energy is infectious and gets the crowd pumped up early on. It would've been the perfect time to bring MO out for their recent collaboration Pull Up, but instead Charli XCX does it solo.

MO is the final support and gives us hit after hit with her performance collaborations including with Major Lazer, Diplo and Snakehips, plus some tracks from her new When I Was Young EP. She's got an impressive mullet-like haircut and her quirky dance moves catch on quickly. 

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During the intermission before the main act, we watch a recording on the screens above as Champion Chills performs charismatic electronic-driven music from his album Ark Odyssey

The black curtain drops to reveal Sia standing centre stage wearing a huge white bow on top of the signature half black, half white wig concealing her face. Her large frilly-layered dress begins to move and dancers emerge from beneath her, moving in all directions as the chorus of Alive strikes up. For those who aren't right up close we watch it all unfold on the screens above as Maddie Ziegler leads the pack into a choreographed routine around Sia.

We can't really see much of Sia but it doesn't matter because it's her incredibly powerful voice that we came to hear. As she stands still in the background she's able to focus solely on the absolute best vocal performance she can give and it is truly one of a kind. Diamonds (originally sung by Rihanna) is a delightful surprise early in the performance as one of the many popular songs Sia has written for other artists. Tonight she shines bright with her own vocal rendition and the stage illuminates the stadium.

The whole performance is a stunning cinematic experience and we're captivated by the pre-recorded footage that runs parallel to the live performance mirrored on stage. As Sia continues to power through with songs mostly from her last two non-Christmas albums This Is Acting and 1000 Forms Of Fear, it's like watching a compilation of short films each with a different story to match the soundtrack. There are even a few famous celebrities who make cameo appearances in the footage on screen, including Kristen Wiig, Paul Dano and comedian Tig Notaro. The live stage performance is perfectly in-sync with the screens so we almost believe that all the actors are really here tonight. "Wait, surely that can't actually be them on stage, is it?" We hear people ask each other. It remains a mystery.

In addition to her more recent music, Sia also includes her incredible hit Breathe Me, for all of the fans who have waited to see her perform live for so long. A piano ballad version of Titanium (David Guetta feat Sia) blows us away with soaring vocals to give us chills even in the sweltering heat. She ends the final chorus with a substitute for "I am Titanium" with "I am Australian!" to let us know she is underneath the wig. Ziegler is also actually here in the flesh tonight and recreates her iconic dance performance to Chandelier. A rainbow shines down over all of the dancers for a fresh interpretation of The Greatest and Sia finally addresses the audience with a final two words: "Hello and goodbye." We watch the screen as a recording of Ziegler running backstage to pass her fellow crew until we finally see Sia with a huge smile on her face.