Sarah Blasko: As Day Follows Night 10th anniversary show @ Melbourne Recital Centre, Wednesday 2 February, 2022
Sarah Blasko and team started planning these shows back in 2019 – the year that marked a decade since As Day Follows Night’s release – but were unable to actually stage them until now (for obvious reasons we’re all bloody sick of reading/thinking about).
Australian rock royalty Tim Rogers, a self-confessed Blasko fan (and friend), steps up to the mic to formally introduce the show wearing a swanky blue velour suit. He does a cracking job – just being himself – but also artfully incorporates a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet – “This above all: to thine own self be true/ And it must follow, as the night the day/ Thou canst not then be false to any man” – from which Blasko drew inspiration for As Day Follows Night’s title.
Then on files Blasko’s backing band – Dave Symes on double bass, Laurence Pike on drums, David Hunt on piano plus a gentleman conjuring the sound of a full orchestra from a single keyboard – followed by the angel herself, wearing a beautiful black baby doll dress with puffed sleeves and oversized bows decorating the yoke.
As we nestle into our seats inside this superb acoustic environment, Down On Love’s piano intro caresses our psyches before Blasko’s pure, silken, waif-like vocal enters and lures us gently into the present: “How’d you lose your faith in life/ That brought you to your knees tonight/ I believe in answered prayers/ But the answers are found everywhere…”
To open All I Want, Blasko’s theremin-style howls set the scene as we’re drawn to Pike’s intricate drum flourishes, which perfectly serve this haunting song. “All I want/ Is to one day come to know myself…” – godDAMNit! We anticipated tears would flow tonight, but coming in hot at song two Blasko hits an emotional peak early on. This forlorn, unexpectedly Spaghetti Western-tinged tune has been absent from our lives for way too long!
The beauty of Blasko’s music – exquisite explosions of melody offset by her dark and vulnerable vocal delivery – melts us into meditative states, while sizzle reels of precious memories from around the time of this album’s release reignite inside our minds. Blasko’s playful, spontaneous movement – which masterfully interprets lyrical content (particularly during “the joyfully and most bitter mad” Sleeper Awake) – further illustrates these nuanced arrangements.
The floodgates open again once We Won’t Run’s elastic chorus hits: “’Cause we won’t run/ We can fight/ All that keeps us up at night/ There is far/ To go now/ Let’s not waste a minute more/ Of our lives…” – I mean, what better message to receive right now, with tears seeping through our fugly face masks?
Is My Baby Yours? is extra poignant when experienced in a live setting; Hunt is clocked manipulating his left hand after smashing out No Turning Back’s arresting bassline on piano; and Over & Over (Blasko’s song that closes out with a segment of Talking Heads’ Road To Nowhere) receives a more melancholy treatment in the hands of these extraordinary musicians, all of whom have been sadly deprived of live performance opportunities over these past few years.
An encore mini-set sees Blasko and co. presenting a smattering of non-album material – from her Cinema Songs EP and the record that followed, 2012’s I Awake – with Xanadu a clear nostalgic highlight.
Like Kate Bush – only less whimsical and way cooler – Blasko’s timbre contains so much crestfallen character; like a fairytale princess (with golden tonsils, obviously) locked in a tower for eternity and singing hopeful, plaintive melodies.
Blasko shared her goal for tonight: to “uplift” our downtrodden spirits since this album was originally designed to celebrate her own intense heartbreak over a decade ago. Mission accomplished! And, furthermore, Blasko’s As Day Follows Night anniversary show also served as an important reminder that we must revisit this award-winning national treasure’s entire back catalog stat.