Guy Sebastian, Vince Harder @ Festival Theatre, Adelaide 6/9/2019

Guy Sebastian played a sold out show at the Festival Theatre to a excited crowd of Adelaide fans. The local boy might not live here anymore but his heart still beats South Australian. Can you believe it was in 2003 when he first won Australian Idol? Sixteen years later and a bunch of top ten and number one hits Sebastian has settled in nicely to this ‘idol’ status he has with his audience.

Before he hit the stage, we were warmed up by the talented New Zealand born Vince Harder who also sings back up for Sebastian. Harder lived in Adelaide for a few months when he performed in the Jersey Boys musical so he’s no stranger to our fair city. Singing his cool brand of RnB with songs Sugar Coated, Don’t’ Give Up On Us before giving us a taste of the Jersey boy Frankie Valli hit Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. Finishing off his set with some up beat and funky tunes Next to You and Love Criminal.

As soon as Guy Sebastian hit the stage the crowd let out an almighty roar. Standing tall he came out singing his 2017 hit Bloodstone showing us just why he is a supreme vocalist. The range is mind-blowing even though we knew that from the Idol days he still excites and blows your mind when you hear him sing especially live. With a stellar cast of family and friends in the audience, even his grade five teacher Mrs Norris was there to see him kick off the first show of his Ridin’ With You tour.

The next lot of songs really warranted a shake of the hips and while the Festival theatre is an iconic venue sometimes pop concert crowds are hesitant to get up and dance.  Dishing out a funky version of Like it Like That and having the crowd joining him in the catchy “hey-yo do you like it like that” chorus to then bounce into the infectious beats of Like a Drum to really get the high energy cranking. As Sebastian said “I ain’t gonna miss a beat” and he sure didn’t!

Reminding us that he wrote a song with Brian McKnight and Robyn Thicke he kept up the funk with Out With My Baby before slowing the tone a bit for his 2014 hit with Lupe Fiasco, Linger. He brought out the guitar for this song and again reminded us how effortlessly he reaches those notes. Not to be wowed by just his vocals, Sebastian’s talent can just as easily change between guitar and piano which he played on the soulful and heartfelt 2012 hit Get Along which easily fits in as a reminder of what’s happening in the world today.

Before I Go is another song showcasing extreme vocal range as well as just how far he has come with songwriting. When he sings this song, he takes you to the high and low depths of emotion, haunting and chilling at the same time. He really is a talent.

Adelaide got to hear new music and played for the first time. Let Me Drink a funky and a trip down the American south style song where Sebastian showed off his running and sliding toe tapping dance skills.  Mind On You a slick pop song and the Latino beats of Oh Oh utilised the brilliant vocals of Carmen Smith who is a shining light worthy of more than just backup singer.

A quick costume change in a grey vest and black slacks Sebastian gathered once again his backup singers to join him singing a song written for his wife Jules, Believer. Telling the crowd, a little story of his self-doubt and asking “What did you think of the song?” From the loud cheer you can say they loved it!

Delving into his 2009 album Like It Like That he sang an acapella version with his singers of Bring Yourself. Sticking with the slow acoustic sounds he sang Closer to the Sun a song he co-wrote with Gary Pinto inspired by the Julian Lennon song Saltwater and Big Bad World a song written for his sons.

Carmen features again on the slow dance tune of The Art of Love and Sebastian once again pleasing the crowd by bringing back the Australian Idol performance favourite Climb Every Mountain where he gave you goose bumps by the end of the song. The crowds seal of approval with a standing ovation helped feel the love in the room. Set in Stone another song about his wife had a touching picture video of his two sons in the background which continued the emotional outpour from the crowd.

The surprise of the night was the addition of the Elton John song Yellow Brick Road and while he’s no Elton, Sebastian does a damn fine job on vocals with this classic. Then the hit we were all waiting for Battle Scars with Sebastian taking on the Lupe Fiasco rapping as well as singing. While you can’t fault his vocals, it was missing the superior Lupe Fiasco rap. The crowd didn’t seem to mind as they again threw out loud cheers of approval.

To finish off the last few songs Sebastian asked everyone to stand. Yes! We could finally dance and it was a sight to see the three tiers of the Festival Theatre standing and dancing to the last few songs; Don’t Worry Be Happy, Elevator Love, Who’s That Girl and Gold. There was hip shaking, slides and feet shuffling by Sebastian and the crowd were singing loudly and proudly waving their hands in time to each song.

Finishing off with an encore of his latest hit single, the song that has had more radio airplay than any other of his songs, Choir. During the concert Sebastian gave us an insight to the dark world of trying to make it in the music business of when the head of a big American record label told him “You don’t have the look, in your songs there’s no naked girls and no swear words and you’re not edgy enough.” His response? “Nah, it’s all good. I’m pretty happy just being me!” His song Choir has out done anything he’s ever done….and with no naked girls! Goes to show at the end of it all, it really is about the music, a fantastic voice and a good song.

Live Review by Anastasia Lambis