Concert Review: Sia – Oakland, California – 10/1/2016

Buying a last minute ticket to see Sia was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. Though at first, I was a little confused and hesitant. I remembered that she said she didn’t want to tour initially when her music started blowing up and confused as to why she immediately jumped straight to filling up stadiums instead of starting off in smaller venues but I quickly took back my words. Her music and overall performance are truly meant for the big stage. But before I jump too far ahead, she did have an awesome performer start the night off. You may know him. Does Miguel ring a bell?

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Photo credit: Camille Espiritu | The Young Folks

Playing a total of 16 songs, Miguel’s performance was more than just an opening act. From the stunning visual effects to his amazing vocals, he was definitely entertaining to watch. As one who isn’t too familiar with Miguel’s music, I was surprised that his music had an edgy, rock vibe to it due to his use of electric guitar. The rough, edgy sound mixed well with his smooth vocals. Miguel started his set with his song “Simple Things” while transitioning to smoother tracks such as “How Many Drinks?” and performing fan favorites such as “Coffee”. Towards the end of his set, he sang one of my personal favorite songs of his which were “Sure Thing”. If you’re a fan of Miguel’s and came to check out his set then you were definitely in for a good time. Miguel’s set alone was definitely worth it given his overall performance both vocally and visually and the amount of songs that he sang. After Miguel pumped up the crowd for Sia and the stage crew did a set change, it was the moment fans, sporting their colorful wigs, were waiting for.

When the lights came on and Sia made her entrance, your eyes immediately notice how minimalist her stage set up was. She started singing her song “Alive” where she stood on a small pedestal and Maddie Ziegler, her adorable young dancer, made her grand entrance and danced the night away.

Sia remained almost motionless during the whole time on stage, providing her powerhouse vocals while her incredible small group of dancers told her narrative through contemporary dance and dramatic facial expressions. I’ve been a fan of Sia’s since her song, “Chandelier” hit the airwaves but it wasn’t just her amazing vocals that continued to draw me in; her apparel of eccentric wigs that she sports on stage and at public events continued to intrigue me. She has an essence of mystery that’s missing in today’s music industry. With everyone’s daily whereabouts constantly on public display due to the rise of social media, technology and the use of the iPhone, Sia created distance between herself and her fans but with good reason.

During concerts, singers are the stars of the show and typically interact with their fans. Critics have complained about the lack of fan interaction during Sia’s performance but I’m here to say- why kill the illusion? Her mysterious persona is what continues to draw in huge crowds and why she was able to pack a stadium full of people without having to start at smaller venues and work her way up.

Sia decided to alter the traditional concert experience by giving fans a glimpse into her artistic world solely told through movement and self-expression. This is probably why fans can’t get enough of her.

Photo credit: Camille Espiritu

Photo credit: Camille Espiritu | The Young Folks

Throughout the night, she sang some of her greatest hits to date such as “Elastic Heart” and “Cheap Thrills” while singing lesser known favorites such as “Big Girls Cry” and “Fire Meet Gasoline”. Besides writing original music, Sia has also written songs for other talented artists such as Adele, Rihanna and Kanye West and some of those songs made it to her set list. She performed a beautiful cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” as well as an acoustic cover of David Guetta’s “Titanium”.

Her show definitely wasn’t short of thrills and surprises. Actor Ben Mendelsohn and actress and comedian Kristen Wiig both made an appearance as Sia’s dancers. Wiig danced during the performance of “One Million Bullets” while Mendelsohn made an appearance while Sia’s performed “Breathe Me”. Both celebrities added to the show’s performance and art form nicely as they danced and expressed themselves with such raw emotion.

Sia ended the night with her biggest hit, “Chandelier” which depicted a dark time in her life when she was addicted to alcohol. As Ziegler did similar choreography to what was done in the music video, it was still something to see and experience live. Ziegler’s emotions that were displayed through her body language mixed with Sia’s raw and talented vocals left me mesmerized yet also sad that the evening was drawing to a close. As the song was coming to an end, you see a pre-recorded video of the dancers and Sia taking a bow much like any theatrical performance.

But before the curtains drew to a close, there was one more song of the evening. Her encore song was “The Greatest” which has already gotten quite a bit of air time in the radio stations. The track reminds listeners that despite the odds that life throws your way, you can always overcome them because as the song declares, you got stamina. It ended the song on a positive note and after much like a night of theater, the curtains closed and the theatrical show was over.

Photo credit: Camille Espiritu

Photo credit: Camille Espiritu

Overall, the concert was amazing. It’ll forever be etched in my mind that was a concert experience unlike any other. From the theatrical presentation to the minimalist use of props and effects, Sia remained to keep you captivated and engaged throughout every song of the night. It was a beautiful concert that left me speechless and redefined the art of a live performance.

(Editor’s note: Due to scheduling conflicts, AlunaGeorge were absent during this stop on the tour).

Rating: 10/10

Camille lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will most likely find her wandering around local bookstores, going to a concert or enjoying the sights of the city by the bay. This Captain America fangirl enjoys attending book events, re-watching her favorite Disney movies and obsessing over the latest entertainment news. You can find her on Twitter @itscamille_ann.