Words and photography by Shelley Te Haara
The crowd was packed in down in the stalls, with a line of people on the level above when the lights finally went out and the intro music – Do You Hear the People Sing?’ from Les Miserables – played out. It was a powerful way to kick the show off, only made more emotional as Amy took to centre stage, only to face the left of the stage and be lit from the back. Displayed as a mere silhouette she broke into an acoustic version of You Think I Think You Sound Like God. The crowd fell silent other than a frustrated woman telling those with their phones out to put them away, highlighting the impact of this rendition of the song.
After playing a few more songs, Amy recounted an anecdote about her ex from NZ and how he was talking to his mum who didn’t seem too impressed with Amy’s music, stating that her music was emotionally heavy, at which point Amy took the phone and told her, if you think that’s heavy you should hear Love Monster. She then performed the track ‘Never Coming Back’ – one of the more upsetting tracks on Amy’s debut album.
The stage was set up with Amy Shark’s name in large letters, and two band members were positioned behind her on each side, with the Love Monster album cover on a banner overlooking everything. The strong lighting set up supported the staging, reflecting the overall vibe she was going for. Rather than being a huge spectacle, the lighting and smoke seemed to drown the band out, keep the entire performance light and subtle.
I’m A Liar was a stand out moment, performed by Amy and her guitar, alone on the stage; a beautiful solo which seemed to amplify her vocals even further.
With the entire tour being in support of her debut album, Love Monster, Amy asked the crowd who had the album, to which most of the crowd responded positively. She explained that the album was “real life stuff” and “doesn’t paint her in the best light” but that she wanted it to be real. She explained that the next song was about telling her best friend news that would ruin their friendship before diving into ‘Mess Her Up’ as if to prove a point.
Then came the song I adore which is All Loved Up, and the rest of the crowd seemed to be enjoying it just as much as I was, an enjoyment that only grew greater with a cover of Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus, during which the crowd sung very loudly. It was definitely a fun one.
Before kicking off the track Weekends, Amy explained the encore situation to the crowd. Amy will leave the stage, we would cheer and she would return. I notice this seems to be a regular thing lately with artists describing the encore and doing it anyway, making the whole thing seem redundant as we all know what’s happening. But for Amy, it seemed to be to ensure the crowd didn’t leave before she was done, and so after she departed the stage following Weekends, the crowd started to chant her name, knowing she would be coming back soon.
Upon returning to the stage Amy performed Adore which seemed like something of an acknowledgement to the show and the fans. Amy went on further to say it felt like it was a hometown show and the passion in the room is incredible, calling it a “cult” that not everyone is a part of. She thanked everyone who also hits her up online and said that next time anyone in the room runs into someone who doesn’t like her music, don’t get angry, instead, “tell them I said hi”, before launching into her final performance of hit single ‘I Said Hi’, following which the crowd roared as she thanked everyone and left the stage.
If you like how Amy Shark sounds on her records than you have to experience it live, as it is definitely another level all together. Her vocals live are incredible and more raw and emotional, with the live performance being more focused on the music, allowing you to appreciate her talent all the more.
You Think I Think I Sound Like God
I Got You
Don’t Turn Around
Never Coming Back
Leave Us Alone
Drive You Mad
I’m A Liar
Mess Her Up
All Loved Up
Teenage Dirtbag (Cover)
I Said Hi