This is my head penis!
As a massive cloth banner sporting the singer’s name was hoisted into the air, strange alien noises began overlapping and spewing into the speakers. “We are born, we are born,” they began to disjointedly chant, hastening and finally meeting in a frenzied rally cry.
At once, Sia pranced out with her band from behind stage wearing a red-and-white striped gown and a glowing light piece attached to her forehead, looking not unlike a glorious technicolor unicorn. “This is my head penis!” she announced while pointing at the contraption. The crowd cheered in approval, thus propelling her into the first of many Woody Woodpecker-like giggle fits.
Last Saturday, Sia arrived in Boston for the American leg of her We Meaning You Tour, a tour to promote her upcoming release, We Are Born, due out on June 7.
As the singer formally known best for her more solemn, downtempo work with Zero 7 or her classic ballad “Breathe Me,” Sia has certainly had an image reversal as of late: Saturday’s show was, if nothing else, a bubbly affair (literally!), complete with crocheted set design and colorful patterns.
On stage, the microphones and instruments were wrapped in fabrics and yarn. Even the amps were covered in fuzzy knits, making the show look a bit like it were an impromptu performance inside of a Mexican souvenir shop. As if to purposely counteract the rather dreary ambiance of her last few efforts, tonight was a spunky celebration of color and dance-ready pop tunes.
Sia herself is an effortless, understated powerhouse of a performer. Standing barefoot at center stage, the singer playfully twitched around–doing robot-inspired dances and playing with the fringes of dress–while effortlessly belting out some of the toughest, scale-heavy numbers from her discography including “Little Black Sandals,” “The Girl You Lost to Cocaine” and her brilliant cover of Madonna‘s “Oh Father.” Literally, these were studio-ready vocals (if not better than the original recordings!) being produced as though it were no big thing.
Aside from “Breathe Me,” the most celebrated songs of the night also happened to be the newest ones, especially the new single, “Clap Your Hands.” It seems no concertgoer, no matter how dedicated or ambivalent, can resist such a dirty bass groove as the one in her latest single. The entire audience seemed to sway and clap in unison to the song’s impossibly massive disco beat. “Bring Night” and “You’ve Changed” were equally beloved by the crowd, only further emphasizing the very real fact that a happy Sia is just as wonderful as a downtempo Sia.
Later on, after the “fake encore” (as she referred to her intial exit from the stage), the Aussie songstress returned to the stage with a set of colorful plastic wheel wings attached to her back. Yes friends, it was time for bubbles! From behind the singer, a machine began spinning the wings on Sia’s back, resulting in flurries of bubbles that carried across the venue. “This is the first time it’s worked the way I want it to!” she announced giddily, doing a quick victory dance before rounding out the concert with a moving rendition of “Soon You’ll Be Found,” complete with accompanying sign language.
As has come to be the custom at the Sia show, the singer was showered in a bunch of gifts from her fans, about half-way in (though she accepted gifts throughout the show), including a Barbie, a new purse, handerpants (no really, educate yourselves about that one), CD’s and more.
“Who wants to do some more heckling?” she would ask a few times throughout the show. As the crowd would begin to cheer, choice members of the audience threw out their best, silliest ‘insults’–or whatever was on their mind, really. “Your girlfriend is hot!” shouted one. “Thanks, I’ll tell her you said that!” she responded gleefully. “Your drummer is hot!” shouted another. Not exactly the jeers she was expecting perhaps, but silly nonetheless.
While there were no costume changes or major video installations, the singer kept the crowd engaged with her adorably off-kilter anecdotes and interactions with the audience. It’s hard to believe that the bouncy, effervescent character dancing around onstage is the same one soulfully belting out her songs like some of the best songstresses of the last century. But then again, you’d have to see it happen live to truly understand.
And now some random bits from the tour, courtesy of my camera. Prepare for shoddy video and audio! Apologies.