Webster Hall was packed with a sold-out crowd Saturday night, those in attendance anxiously awaiting for Australian singer/songwriter Sia to take the stage. And she did, shortly after 9 p.m., with the “Rocky” theme song blaring through the speakers. Sia and her band came out in bright, neon cartoon-character-type outfits for her first song of the evening, “Buttons.” She had the crowd singing and dancing along to the fun, up-tempo song, a hidden track on her latest album, Some People Have Real Problems.
(Check out her performance of “Buttons” on Jimmy Kimmel Live here for more of an idea.)
Sia is by far the most energetic singer I’ve ever seen in concert. In between songs she’d be dancing with so much energy, always with a bright smile on her face. Her concert was very interactive, whether she was asking the crowd if it needed anything, taking notes from fans with song requests or reading messages from fans on her message board while dedicating a song to them. She even traded her own scarf — one she bought in Chinatown, she told the audience — for a fan’s scarf.
Sia played a 90-minute set of 15 songs, mostly tracks off of her new album, as well as a few old fan favorites, such as “Broken Biscuit” and the infamous “Breathe Me” — her hit from the final episode of “Six Feet Under” that “totally resuscitated my dying career,” she told the audience.
I was blown away by Sia’s voice on many songs. “Lentil,” one of her more emotional songs, was powerful, with her voice building up into a crescendo in the middle of the song and then falling to a whisper by the end. On many numbers, audience members would break into screams after one of her more powerful chords.
What was interesting to me is that Sia’s songs are a bit more down-tempo than you would think a performer with her amount of energy would perform, possibly even falling into the category of easy listening. She told the crowd that her next album will be more poppy and performed a song from her “future album” titled “The Codependent,” which was definitely more upbeat and seemed more of Sia’s style.
Possibly one of her strongest songs of the night, Sia dedicated “You Have Been Loved,” to “all the losers in love.” She preceded the song by telling the audience of how she and a friend were calculating the statistics of all the single people in the world. “I’d like to assure you that there are 1.2 million people you can find a soul mate in and not to worry,” she told the crowd.
Although she couldn’t perform every song shouted out to her, she encouraged fans to write requests on her message board a week and a half before the show so the band can practice them. “I try to make dreams come true,” she joked.
Sia had many in attendance singing along to her choir-y song “Death by Chocolate” while the crowd favorite of the night seemed to be her vocally powerful song “Breathe Me,” as screams and claps from the audience could be heard well after she finished the song.
The night ended with an encore performance of “Somersault,” definitely a crowd pleaser. Sia preceded the song by telling the audience that she hated the idea of an encore. “I used to have a non-encore rule, but management told me I have to do it,” she joked.
Har Mar Superstar opened the night and definitely put on an interesting performance, as the singer stripped down to his underwear. Screams could be heard throughout Webster Hall, either of pure shock or excitement I’m not too sure. Lead singer, Har Mar, jumped into the crowd, dancing with some concertgoers throughout part of his set, definitely getting the crowd energized while a few concert-goers seemed a bit disturbed, screaming, “Put your clothes back on!”
Either way, the mix of Har Mar’s pop/club music livened up the audience, and as the house lights rose throughout the venue at the end of the night and concert-goers were ushered out the doors, they definitely could not forget Har Mar Superstar’s intriguing performance or the sheer energy and amazing vocals of Sia.