Audiences at Jessica Mauboy’s show at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena certainly got their money’s worth on Saturday night.
The pop darling’s back catalogue was rolled out over more than two hours as part of her ‘All The Hits Live’ tour; a show which certainly delivered on its promise.
After a vocally impressive set from support artist (‘X Factor’ winner and Australian Eurovision hopeful) Isaiah, Jess burst onto the scene with an energetic performance of auspOp favourite ‘Can I Get A Moment’.
Uptempo 2013 single ‘To The End Of The Earth’ followed, along with ‘Get ‘Em Girls’ album track ‘Reconnected’ and the infectious 2010 smash ‘Saturday Night’.
The energy was electric, the crowd was pumped. But instead of keeping that energy flowing, a video montage of Jess’s early days back in Darwin led us to a more subdued string of truncated country songs in front of the curtain.
Though she was vocally in full flight across numbers including LeAnn Rimes’ ‘Blue’ and ‘How Do I Live’, Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand By Your Man’, along with Crowded House’s classic ‘Better Be Home Soon’ and Cold Chisel’s ‘Flame Trees’ (which were included on ‘The Secret Daughter’ soundtrack), we reckon this country interlude would have been better placed further into the setlist.
The afterburners were put back on for abridged versions of 2009’s ‘Up/Down’ and ‘Been Waiting’. We could have done with a full version of the latter, but we could have done with a truncated version of ‘Get ‘Em Girls’. Admittedly, we’ve never been fans of the track. Debut single ‘Running Back’ was also included, though no surprise appearance from Flo Rida.
Cleverly, the show’s producers used footage of Jess’s ‘Australian Idol’ audition to segue into a shortened (but spine-tingling) rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing’, before it was back in front of the curtain again for more stripped-back performances (including a cover of The Bee Gees’ ‘Words’).
Jess dipped her toes into the soundtrack for ‘The Sapphires’ (‘I Can’t Help Myself’ and the criminally ignored ‘Gotcha’), plus the soundtrack for ‘The Secret Daughter’ with ‘Risk It’.
A succession of fan favourites followed, including top ten smash ‘Never Be The Same’, the electrifying ‘This Ain’t Love’ and 2011’s ‘Galaxy’ (albeit with Isaiah replacing Stan Walker). We also got a funked-up version of what remains Jess’s only No.1 hit to date… 2008’s ‘Burn’.
Tracks like ‘Beautiful’, ‘Inescapable’, ‘Pop A Bottle (Fill Me Up)’ and ‘I Believe – Anything Is Possible’ helped deliver the knockout crescendo to what was a (mostly) high energy show.
What impressed us most about the ‘All The Hits Live’ tour was Jessica’s ability to transcend genres – dance, pop, urban, soul, country – so effortlessly and flawlessly.
And though we could have done with a little less talking (“Oh my goodness”) throughout, we came away seriously impressed from a show that showcased an Aussie talent’s vocal, moves, performance and back catalogue of pop gems.
As a country, we should be celebrating and championing her more than we do. She’s a home-grown superstar.
April 05 : Adelaide (AEC Theatre)
April 07 : Sydney (ICC Theatre)
April 08 : Canberra (Royal Theatre)
April 10 : Brisbane (Convention & Exhibition Centre)
April 11 : Gold Coast (Jupiters)
April 15 : Darwin (Convention Centre)