By Poppy Tohill
Artist: Sara Bareilles
Date / Venue: Friday September 26th, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland
I think I'm in love.
I wish my word limit for these reviews could be one word so I could just write ‘perfect' or ‘speechless' and then leave it at that, but none the less, I will do my best to describe just how amazing this concert was, but know that the only word I can use to do the concert justice, is ‘perfect.'
As an eager crowd piled into the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Friday night, we were advised to snuggle up to the people beside us and make new friends, to be sure there were no gaps between seats, for the completely sold out concert.
Although no activity was occurring on the stage at this point, the lights shone down beautifully, creating an absolutely magical setting and surrounding for those still arriving and whom were already in their seats.
A few moments later as the lights dimmed, screams, cries and applause erupted out of nowhere, as Sara Bareilles herself took to the stage before the support act. Bareilles much shorter than I imagined, expressed her sweet, and kind nature, admitting she'd never been to New Zealand before and was so grateful that we sold the show out. Truly and quite clearly very humbled by this fact and the audience's welcome for her, she went on to introduce Misty Boyce, the support act, who is a long term friend and band mate of Bareilles, before departing the stage.
Boyce, another short and sweet looking young woman took to the microphone, looked around at everyone and shouted, ‘Fuck!' a rather amusing first word and impression to set on the audience, who without a second thought took it in humorously, laughing and clapping in response. "I'm so excited" Boyce continued once the audience had quietened.
Her stage presence was magnificent, and although while telling the story of how she reacted when Sara asked her to be the support act for this show, she said she was extremely nervous, as this was the largest crowd she'd ever played to in her life, it didn't show, as her witty, comedic comments, humorous crowd banter and exceptional musical performance blended together to create what was an exceptional way to begin the night.
As the half hour break in between Boyce & Bareilles' set eventually came to an end, everyone took their seats in great anticipation for the arrival of Bareilles, the lady we were all there to see. Sweetly curtseying as she once again welcomed everyone to the ‘Little Black Dress,' which funnily enough she was also wearing, she jokingly admit, "I wish it was a bit warmer though, because my gosh it is cold up here," she laughed.
Then without further a-do, armed with a guitar in hand, she kicked off her set with a magnificent performance of ‘Let It Rain,' from her third album, ‘Kaleidoscope Heart.' Bareilles voice, strong, stunning and perfect filled the entirety of the large venue, leaving her voice softly echoing as the song came to an end.
Putting the guitar aside, Bareilles then took to the piano to perform a very enchanting performance of‘Uncharted,' closely followed by ‘Love On The Rocks,' where Bareilles band of two, with support act Misty Boyce on backing vocals, keys and guitar, and friend Steve on drums took to the stage to help her out.
Chatting and joking around with the audience between each song, Bareilles sweet and bubbly stage presence and personality instantly made you feel as if you were her best friend, as she joked around and told us stories of her life and career. "When I told everyone back home that I was thinking of going to New Zealand, they said, ‘you can go there, but nobody may like you. and then all of you fucking showed up and I just can't believe it!" she giggled, before continuing on to perform her popular hit single, ‘Love Song' which was a definite crowd favourite as everyone, in Bareilles' words, ‘sung their arses off,' also joking that, ‘you literally have no butts anymore.'
Stepping aside of the piano, Bareilles took to the guitar once more. This time armed with an electric guitar she performed a mesmerising version of her song, ‘Come Round Soon,' from her second album, ‘Little Voice.'Showcasing a darker and deeper tone to her vocal talents and songwriting skills, the way she repeatedly held those exceptionally long notes, was nothing but haunting, as the hairs on the back of my neck stood on edge and my arms prickled with goosebumps all over.
Next Bareilles picked up a ukulele and announced she was going to sing a cover of Sia's popular hit,‘Chandelier.' "That bitch sings so high though, so I've lowered it," Bareilles jokingly confessed, before launching into the most stunning cover of that song I have ever heard. Hitting every note more than perfectly, to me it didn't even sound as if she had lowered it, as the goosebumps with barely enough time to disappear, were back on my arms once again.
It was hard to believe that the night could get any better, but with each song Bareilles continued to amaze the entire audience, out shining herself with each performance, as she remained seated at the piano for ‘Manhattan,' ‘December' and ‘Chasing The Sun,' all of which are from her most recent album, ‘The Blessed Unrest.'
Admitting she hadn't been playing this song on tour recently, she announced that she wanted to play it for us, soon after launching into the upbeat and happy tune of ‘Little Black Dress.' Spotting a young couple dancing in the audience, she asked if they would come up and show everyone their dance, if they were to play one verse of the song again, as the dancing couple announced they had rehearsed this dance for the concert numerous times over. As Bareilles and the band begun to play one part of the song again, the couple took to the front to show off their moves, much to the audiences' enjoyment. "I can't pay you for that though sorry," Sara joked as the couple returned back to their seats.
Building on the existing joyous atmosphere, Bareilles went on to perform her recent and popular single,‘Choose You,' which proving another crowd favourite, had everyone bopping and moving along to.
The next song was a pleasant surprise and definitely an enjoyable highlight for many. "This is a great song to perform in a church," Bareilles humorously admit, before we could all understand she was playing us majorly. Previously not knowing her song, ‘Sweet As Whole,' you soon to learn that the majority of Bareilles' songs are sweet, happy, melodic or sad tunes, so as she sung "That guy's an asshole, that girl's a bitch." was highly amusing and delightfully enjoyable as the entire audience joined in singing with her, throughout what I'm sure is many people's new favourite song.
Unfortunately nearing the end of her set, Bareilles split the audience into groups that would help her sing different parts of the beautiful, upbeat and poppy, ‘King Of Anything,' which everyone did accordingly without too much persuasion, as the room echoed with the enthusiastic singing, claps and dances from the energetic adoring fans.
Thanking the entire audience once more and reassuring everyone that ‘our support means the world' to her, Bareilles drew her set to an end with her popular hit single, ‘Brave,' whereby the entire audience, without any assistance or encouragement from Bareilles this time, rose to their feet to dance, clap and sing away, as loud and crazy as possible, showering Bareilles with the love and affection she truly, had not only earnt, but also deserved.
When departing the stage, the claps, screams, shouts, cries and whistles for an encore begun, immediately increasing in volume as Bareilles appeared on the stage once more to conclude the night with a soft and stunning performance of ‘Gravity,' the first single from her 2004 debut album, ‘Careful Confessions.'
Showcasing her pure talent and mesmerising voice one last time, Sara Bareilles really is what music and true talent is all about and if you ever get the chance to see her perform, if my word means anything to you, for god sake go see her, because although they say perfection doesn't exist, Sara Bareilles' voice, musical talent, sweet personality and entire performance was nothing other than perfect and I wouldn't say that unless it was 100% true.