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Louise's Best Concerts of 2014

Brisbane's Best Concerts of 2014

When it comes to concerts in 2014, 973's Music Director Louise Poole has pretty much seen them all. And from a diverse list of 30+ shows she counts down Brisbane's Top 10 Concerts of 2014.

Let us know what your favourite was in the comments below

  1.   5 Seconds of Summer – The Tivoli – May 7

 

Arguably, the toughest spot on this list to fill is the tenth one – because there were so many fantastic shows of 2014, and most sit around this level of awesome. But Aussie teen sensations 5SOS win this spot because they stood out as a band on the way up. At the time of this show their debut single “She Looks so Perfect” had only just been released but when these boys played to that sold out crowd of screaming girls you couldn't help but feel there was something really special about 5SOS - that they were on their way to bigger adventures, fast – and already playing in a venue too small for their fandom. Which turned out to be true because the Brisbane Entertainment Centre IS their next stop - Headlining in 2015. 

  1.       Sara Bareilles – Little Black Dress Tour – The Tivoli – September 24

Why did US singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles beat out some big-budget international productions to come ninth on my list? Because everyone walked out of the Tivoli after seeing Sara (and her 2 piece accompaniment) feeling empowered. The power of her voice. The power of her lyrics. Bareilles' last album The Blessed Unrest has a place as one of my all-time favourites. It's an heartwarming tale of coming into the light after being in a dark emotional place. And the anthemic Brave is just the tip-of-the iceberg.

 “Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do when they settle 'neath your skin. Kept on the inside and no sunlight, sometimes the shadow wins. But I wonder what would happen if you say what you wanna say and let the words fall out. I wanna see you be brave”.

Not to mention the show stopping cover of Sia's Chandelier played by Bareilles on the ukelele. But the stand out Sara Bareilles song for me has always been 'I Choose You'. It always makes me think that this is how love really feels. So if you haven't heard it – Do yourself a favour and listen. The original video is below:

  1.      Queen and Adam Lambert – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – September 1

It's not Freddie, but it's still pretty darn good. Which I think is a real testament to the strength of Freddie Mercury's songwriting and the stage presence of Adam Lambert. He does flamboyant well and you can tell that Lambert genuinely loves and respects Queen. But he's not trying to be Freddie.

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The work of Queen as a band is the real star of this show – Lambert just provides a voice to some of it. So does Brian May who brings the house down with a solo rendition of Waltzing Matilda. And so does Freddie himself through some clever videos and archival footage. As a long time Queen fan this show was an absolute delight! Just hear Adam Lambert wail on Somebody to love!

  1.       Bruce Springsteen – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – February 26

When Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band burst onto the stage busting out a rock rendition of the disco BeeGees hit Stayin' Alive there was no doubt in the crowd that we were in for a thrilling show! Three and a half hours later Springsteen was still delivering – with a Highway to Hell cover and an appearance by Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) because why not? He was in the audience so The Boss made him sing. What Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band do, which is so unique, is to take requests of songs from audience members holding up signs.

Imagine just how many songs those musicians are keeping in their back pocket at all times! And the skill they have in being able to switch to playing any of them in the instant Springsteen picks up the sign and shows it to the band.  I don't believe a Springsteen fan would ever be disappointed in a Springsteen show because there is always so much delicious variety – This show in particular delving into his earlier works, playing his 1973 album The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle in it's entirety, then busting out into a string of his biggest hits to bring home the show.

Check out The Boss' take on Brisbane's own BeeGees:

  1.       Lady Gaga – Artpop Ball – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – August 26

BANG. Glitter explosion. BANG. Glitter explosion. BANG. Glitter explosion. Honestly, I've never seen so much glitter confetti in all my life. A constant stream of sparkle rained down upon us as we listen to the Mother Monster Lady Gaga. The world of Gaga is strange, i'll give you that, but it's also a powerful self expression that Art is whatever you make it - Whether that's emerging from a shell like Venus, wearing a dress of leather tentacles, looking a bit like Rainbow Brite, or performing a costume change (down to just her g-string) live on stage.

With all the elaborate staging, costumes and props, you might forget that Lady Gaga can actually sing. But it's the surprisingly stripped down version of Born This Way that reminds us why Lady Gaga is truly a queen. 

  1.       Miley Cyrus – Bangerz Tour – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – October 15

I really love Gaga and her over the top theatrics and if you asked me at the start of the year if I thought Miley Cyrus' show would be better than Gaga's I would've laughed you off... But, here we are. Believe me, Miley was even more outlandish than Gaga. Stepping into Miley's concert was like taking a walk in a bizarre and fun playground – From the minute she slid down her own giant tongue to her firework twirling feel good anthem Party in the USA.

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A stunningly energetic performance – I had no idea where to look there was so much going on! Giant inflatable dogs, mascots, walking puppets, flying hotdogs... She embraces her femininity and had female dancers of every shape and size and race – from a tall, curvy amazonian to a sexy midget and everything in between.

There was a lot of hype around Miley before her Brisbane show – with people saying her show was offensive. And sure, it's not a show for young kids (but there aren't many that are). But i'd say that people who are offended by the Bangerz tour just don't get what Miley is about. She's setting an example to embrace who you are and not give a rip what anyone else thinks of you – It's your life to be happy with.

  1.       Robbie Williams – Swings Both Ways Tour – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – September 22

You know that any man who could live tweet and vlog the birth of his son is going to be cheeky. But it's Robbie Williams cheekiness and sense of fun that makes him so appealing. He has such a brilliant tongue-in-cheek way of approaching the music industry – The best proof is in the (literal) pudding as No One Likes A Fat Pop Star is performed by Robbie swinging from the roof in a fat suit.

“You just can't be portly, not this side of 40, showbiz, a single chin game. Scum paparazzi's and weight police nasties have narrowed the hall of fame.”

The stage, the costumes, the dancers, the band – it's all a delightful visual feast! Plus a setlist of all time swing greats and an unexpected acapella of R Kelly's ignition made this a show I wanted to see twice!

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  1.       Katy Perry – Prismatic World Tour – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – November 27

If you've ever watched Katy Perry's documentary Part of Me you would've felt the heartbreaking moment her marriage ended and saw her battle with depression – which is really what makes her Prism album so truly inspiring to me. That you can watch the metamorphosis of Katy Perry's darker personal space evolve into an album of self-awareness and self-love.

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And watching a show presented from a place of self-love and fun makes for a very VERY good time. Plus as a self-confessed crazy cat lady how could I not love Perry's ongoing use of kitties in the whole show?! Dancers dressed as cats (inspired by the musical Cats), a video of anthropomorphic cats going shopping and Katy Perry performing on top of a giant ball of yarn.

But if cats aren't your thing... There was also the giant golden horse in the Cleopatra themed Dark Horse; the mid-air acrobatics to E.T.; Lifting her guitarists into the air in I Kissed a Girl, while fireworks shot out the edge of their guitars; The enormous balloon emoji's brought to life in This is How We Do (including the poop emoji); Perry flying around the Entertainment Centre amidst glitter confetti strapped to faux balloons during Birthday; or the literal fireworks that exploded from the stage during Firework.

The Prismatic World Tour was immensely enjoyable and definitely the biggest theatrical concert of the year and it could definitely be interchangeable with my number 2 pick...

  1.       Michael Buble – To Be Loved Tour – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – May 12

Actually, the only reason Buble scored the number 2 spot above Perry was because of his performance of the Beatles All You Need is Love – which moved me to tears of joy. Turning a song the audience has already heard about a million times into a feels-like-your-really-hearing-it-for-the-first-time experience is the magic of Michael Buble. And the explosion of paper hearts that blanketed the Entertainment Centre in that number probably didn't hurt either. Buble's radio staples like Haven't Met You Yet and It's a Beautiful Day were brilliantly done, but what really surprised me was how connected I felt to Buble's cover versions – brought to life by his charm.

I left that concert with much more respect for Michael Buble as a performer than I had when I went in. I was won over. Maybe it was his charm, his honesty, his self-awareness, or his liquid smooth voice but either way it was a truly unforgettable night. Encoring with a version of Cry Me A River (complete with fire cannons) that left the audience breathless – and choosing to end the show in a most unconventional way: Unplugging his mic, taking out his ear piece and asking this crowd to shush while Buble and his naked voice sung A Song For You in an Entertainment Centre so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

 

  1.       Bruno Mars – Moonshine Jungle Tour – Brisbane Entertainment Centre - March 13

After postponing the show due to illness, Bruno Mars took the stage at the Entertainment Centre with an apology and a promise:“Brisbane i'm not come over here and give you 60%. I'm gonna give you that 300 like tonight!” And it was a promise he kept. Bruno Mars takes out the top spot on my list because I simply could not look away. No room for bathroom breaks in this show – The audience was absolutely glued to this pint sized hit making machine.

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The Moonshine Jungle Tour took all the very best bits of music from the past and blended them into today. It's a music lovers dream: Motown, new wave, late-’70s funk, mid-’90s R&B, reggae, disco – all blended into a full brass and rock band. A energetic wall of sound from the very beginning of the show. Bruno Mars' name might be on the ticket but his band The Hooligans are just as much the stars and he steps back to let them shine.

Including Hooligan Phillip Lawrence the man behind the line “Oh my god, this is great' in The Lazy Song – who gets a full 2 minute Eye of the Tiger montage psyching him up to perform that line. The stunning musical performance from this show would be enough to win the top spot alone – but add to that the Michael Jackson-esque dancing and some pyrotechnics for good measure and Bruno Mars may just be one of the greatest performers of all time.

Regrettable Misses: Mariah Carey and The Rolling Stones. They may have been amongst the best – but a girl's got to holiday sometime. So these two shows were missed by me and therefore not eligible for inclusion.

Honourable Mentions: It's tough whittling down a year of spectacular shows into a list of just ten. The quality of many other shows was also amazing – Keith Urban, Justin Timberlake, Pentatonix, John Legend and the John Farnham and Lionel Ritchie double billed show – also deserve a shout out here.

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