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Live Review: Steve Lacy @ Sydney Opera House

1 February 2024 | 1:34 pm | Luke Gardiner

Lacy’s enjoyment of the occasion was evident when he stated that it felt “super iconic” to be playing at the Sydney Opera House.

Steve Lacy

Steve Lacy (Credit: Peter Dovgan)

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Over the years, the world-famous Sydney Opera House has seen some unforgettable performances from Thin Lizzy, Tame Impala, and even the one and only Prince. However, it was now the turn of California’s Steve Lacy to see if he could cement himself in the Opera House Hall of Fame. 

The alt R&B star has returned to Australia for the first time since 2022, when he concluded his album tour for the acclaimed Gemini Rights. This exclusive headline Sydney Opera House show was the first of two that Lacy would play in the famous Concert Hall before joining Laneway Festival in February along with Stormzy and Dominic Fike

Although Lacy has been making music for over ten years, his gradual rise to success became meteoric when his 2022 single Bad Habit seemingly found itself on everyone’s TikTok ‘For You’ page. The world's appetite for Lacy has since been strong, which was clear with Sydney’s Opera House being packed with excited fans, eagerly waiting to see the 25-year-old star perform all his greatest hits and more. 

The show, which did not have, or quite frankly require, a supporting act, started with Lacy’s three-piece backing band entering the stage to what can only be described as an eruption of noise. This noise level was then dwarfed when Lacy himself stepped up onto the stage to kick things off with the song Static, another track that seems to have recently found favours with TikTok’s algorithm. It took all of five seconds into this first song for everyone in the crowd to be up on their feet, and it was clear that the energy levels in the room would remain high throughout the night. 

After two songs, Lacy’s enjoyment of the occasion was evident when he stated that it felt “super iconic” to be playing at the Sydney Opera House. He then alluded to the fact that new music was not too far away, as he claimed that this current run of Australian shows was to keep him busy between albums. 

Lacy and his band continued to warm the crowd up with songs like N Side, Mercury and Give You The World. However, it was then time for Lacy to change the tempo and rest his band for a moment. He claimed he wanted to spend time with just the crowd and his guitar for two songs, including a stripped-down version of That’s No Fun. The audience seemed in awe of Lacy throughout this entire segment of the show, and an incredibly intimate atmosphere was created in such a large, five-and-a-half-thousand-capacity concert hall. 

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The encompassing nature of the Concert Hall, with its 360-degree seating plan, seems like it could be easy for part of the audience to become neglected by the performer. However, Lacy, who has been criticised in the past for how he has dealt with crowds, seemed to be on a mission to make sure everyone in the room felt like they were part of the show. Whether that was in the form of signing vinyl for people in the front row or taking a song request from someone seated behind the stage. For interest, the song requested was C U Girl.

Due to the manner in which TikTok assisted Lacy’s accelerated rise to the top, there was a noticeable amount of extra filming of the show within the crowd. Of course, this topic sparks lengthy debate amongst concertgoers around the world, with some people finding it disrespectful when people are glued to their phones, even at a live show. However, midway through the hit Infrunami, it was noted that someone had decided to film the show not on a phone but on a Nintendo DS. Could the DS be the future for crowd filmers not wanting to be stuck on their phone? Probably not. 

Infrunami was followed by hits like Some and the Gemini Rights track Buttons. These two songs could be seen as great representations of what makes a great Steve Lacy track. They display the incredible vocal talent and range of Lacy that intertwine a memorably rhythmic bassline. When played live, they show that there can be little to no difference between his studio and live sound. 

Lacy brought his first night of two at the Sydney Opera House to a close with the previously mentioned smash hit, Bad Habit and arguably his most popular song, Dark Red (his most played on Spotify anyway).

The Australian crowd went all in on energy levels for the close of his set, to the point where Lacy took time to soak in the atmosphere before finally walking off stage. Overall, the show seemed to feel like an intimate gig while still having the high energy of a massive arena show. This was a credit to both an incredible performer and an exceptional music venue, which, when combined, created an incredibly memorable night.