Brisbane's Best Concerts Of 2015
As 973 Music Director, you can bet Louise Poole has seen a lot of concerts this year. Well actually ALL of them.
From AC/DC to Neil Diamond to the Backstreet Boys and everything in between, she’s got the most varied music tastes of anyone we know.
So we thought we’d grab her picks for the Brisbane's Best Concerts of 2015.
10. Olivia Newton-John and John Farnham “Two Strong Hearts Tour”
Tuesday 14th April, Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
I've already just lost all of my 'street cred' amongst the music critics with my choice of number 10. Yes, it's naff. But it was one hell of a fun night. Despite all the jokes about John Farnham's Last Time tour not actually being the last time, personally, I'm glad it wasn't. It's truly a pleasure to watch him perform year after year (often in multiple shows each year) and still have each experience be uniquely entertaining. Farnham has never made one of my Top 10 lists before. The difference this time... Olivia. Or better put – The SPARK with Olivia. 2014's double act tour of John Farnham and Lionel Ritchie was disappointing because it was missing that interaction between the two headline performers. But they must've taken notes because the comradery between ONJ and JF in the Two Strong Hearts tour was incredible. No-one walking into those shows was expecting what was waiting for them at the end – a 66 year old John Farnham dressed in tight leather pants and grinding on Livvie while singing songs from Grease. Hilarious. Absolutely Hilarious.
9. Foo Fighters “Sonic Highways Tour”
Tuesday 24th Feb, Suncorp Stadium
Phew, this one ought to get me back some of my reputation... There is something incredible about a true rock atmosphere, complete with its abundance of f-bombs, in a great open air arena like Suncorp Stadium. It's hard to believe that the Foo Fighters have been around for 20 years until you hear their diverse back catalogue of solid rock anthems all laid out for you in one evening. Plus listening to rock icon Dave Grohl recount how he's now a 'convicted criminal' because he once hired a motorised scooter with pedals on the Gold Coast is truly entertaining.
8. Kylie Minogue “Kiss Me Once Tour”
Saturday 21st March, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Kylie held onto her crown as pop's princess as she slid into her hot pants and gave us a super sexy night out! Our first glimpse was of Kylie seductively sprawled across a giant pair of lips and it only got steamier from there. It felt like the Entertainment Centre had turned into one giant nightclub complete with smoke machines and laser lights and it was impossible to resist the urge to get up and dance. The staging was simple yet sultry, the dancers were phenomenal, the costumes – outstanding. And Kylie's performance of the INXS hit Need You Tonight was an absolute show-stopper.
7. Nickelback “No Fixed Address Tour”
Wednesday 20th May, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Nickelback happily take the crown as the most mocked band on the internet* and by association admitting you actually like them may get you tarred and feathered amongst your friends, but to see them live is really worth all the jokes that also get levelled at you. Because they're good. Really good. Embarrassingly good. Although, I knew what I was getting in for, because it was the second time I'd seen Nickelback in concert. But I still remember that feeling of genuine surprise the first time because they really are really good. High energy rock, t-shirt cannons, comedic stories, big ol' ballads and singalongs of Hotel California and Summer of 69 made for an unforgettable night out.
*Seriously, Nickelback take the mickey out of themselves all the time. Google Nickelback + Funny or Die for some of their best p***taking.
6. Neil Diamond “Neil Diamond Live Tour”
Tuesday 3rd & Thursday 5th November, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Bob Wiley* was right. There are two types of people in this world: Those who love Neil Diamond and those who have no souls. Well, ok maybe I exaggerate :) but that’s because Neil Diamond is my spirit animal. He’s like some sort of magical unicorn with his liquid smooth voice, his infectious melodies and his simple but meaningful lyrics. Just like a Song Sung Blue every time I start singing along to Neil Diamond I do start feeling good (I’ve simply got no choice…). So, this little Neil Diamond fangirl went along to both sold out shows on his Brisbane tour and both were superb.
*Bob Wiley played by the side-splittingly funny Bill Murray in What About Bob? A 90’s classic!
5. Rod Stewart “The Hits Tour”
Tuesday 7th April, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
A young Rod Stewart told once Rolling Stone magazine “I don't want to be singing 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?' at age 50 and become a parody of myself”, but now rocking’ Rod is in his 70’s and nobody is laughing at him (although we were laughing with him). Backed by a phenomenal band, complete with brass and string sections and bagpipes, more costume changes than Britney Spears, and a soccer game that involved the whole Ent Cent crowd, this show was the single greatest surprise for me in 2015 in terms of the fun it delivered. I went in with the expectation I’d be doing an early carpark dash - but the minute the lights went down and Rod Stewart burst onto the stage full of energy and charisma, I was hooked in until the confetti filled end!
4. Maroon 5 “V Tour”
Monday 28th September, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
It’s hard to believe Maroon 5 have only 5 albums to their back catalogue when every song that they played in this concert was a bonafide hit. Even a casual Maroon 5 fan would’ve recognised every single song – there were no album fillers in this set. It’s an incredible pop repertoire to have achieved and it was the strength of the songs and the setlist that carried Maroon 5 into my top 5. The staging was actually really minimal, the dress code was casual and there were none of the theatrics or pyrotechnics I’ve come to expect from an international pop show. The fun factor, however, was enormous. Adam Levine’s gorgeous falsetto rang out in a non-stop pop marathon and the crowd hung on (and sung) every lyric. An acapella start to Payphone, an acoustic She Will be Loved and special guests R.City to perform Locked Away with the band were absolute treats. And the evening was made extra special when Brisbane-boy-turned-international-pop-star Conrad Sewell opened the evening and had the crowd mesmerized!
3. Ed Sheeran “X Tour”
Saturday 28th November, Suncorp Stadium
It’s been an incredible journey for Ed Sheeran in the last few years. His very first Brisbane show at the QPAC concert hall in 2013 sold out in minutes (and remains one of the greatest shows I’ve EVER seen), he’s played the Brisbane Riverstage 3 times since then and every time I’ve thought he should be playing a much bigger venue. Then he announced the Suncorp Stadium show. And it sold out. 50,000 people watching 1 man on stage with his guitar. No fanfare, no fireworks, no backing band. That’s the magic of Ed Sheeran live. He works with a complex set of loop pedals and builds up the sound live on stage until it sounds like there is a full band behind him. Unbelievable that he’s just 2 albums into his career and he’s already one of the greatest musicians of all time.
2. One Direction “On The Road Again Tour”
Wednesday 11th February, Suncorp Stadium
2015 must be the year of the stadium show – considering they’ve taken out the top 3 spots in the list. After 4 years of relentless touring, One Direction finally made it to playing the biggest arena in Queensland, and one of the last crowds to see them as a 5 member band – Zayn left the group just a few weeks after the show. I really love it when the audience is youthful because you can feel their excitement and passion for the performers on stage rippling through the crowd. And it’s fun. It’s fun to be swept up in the thrill of Harry tossing his towel into the crowd, Niall giving you a wave as he walks by, or Liam flashing a smile that’s meant just for you. It feels like your first teenage crush brought back to life and shared amongst 50,000 of your closest friends. The big difference between this show and their last Entertainment Centre show was that they’ve tightened up the act and the results are spectacular. The on stage banter is shorter and engaging and the momentum of the show never lags – building to a spectacular firework inducing finale (both lyrically and literally). Plus, musically, these boys have got chops. Their last three albums, Midnight Memories, Four and Made in the AM (although there were no songs from that one in this concert) show a constantly evolving pop maturity that is an absolute pleasure to listen too. Plus I don’t mind a slice of That’s What Makes You Beautiful cheese with my favourite boyband.
1. Taylor Swift “1989 World Tour”
Saturday 5th December, Suncorp Stadium
Taylor Swift makes bring the biggest pop star in the world look effortless as her inner beauty radiates out over the sold out crowd and powers our individual light up wrist bands. Her talent oozes all over the stage as she flashes the perfect smile down the barrel of the camera and right into our hearts. The 1989 World tour is perfect. The former country star has made the complete transformation to pop queen. Even the twang of her previous country-tinged hits has been reimagined into smoother, slicker pop anthems. I Knew You Were Trouble becomes a sultry tango, Love Story sounds like it could’ve been on an 80’s movie soundtrack, and We Are Never Getting Back Together becomes a rock anthem. 1989 was an incredible album – rare because every song could’ve been a hit single – and what was really impressive about the 1989 World Tour is that unlike other artists who will play the few big songs off their new album and have the remainder of the setlist be a greatest hits so the audience doesn’t lose interest – Taylor brought every one of those incredible songs off 1989 to life. And it’s a magnificent thing as an audience member to hear YOUR favourite song from the album. The one that truly means something to you. I wonder if Taylor Swift has any idea just how many people’s lives have been improved by her being her own authentic self. For me that song was Clean. Earlier in this year when I found myself feeling the devastating heartbreak it was Clean that helped me realise that it’s all going to be ok. Actually, better than ok. Sometimes you have to drown in your emotions before you can breathe. But you will breathe again. The roof will rip right off that mess and the pain will wash away. I doubt I’m the only one who felt that way about Clean – especially after Taylor so eloquently dished out her uplifting advice on moving upward from heartbreak before she launched into Clean in the show (that’s the video below!). The 1989 World Tour = Inspirational, Uplifting, pop perfection. An A+ from me and the best concert in Brisbane in 2015 by far.
Just missed out: The bottom of the top 10 is such a tough call because all the concerts are equally awesome. So, if I was extending this out to a top 15 it would also include: AC/DC; 5 Seconds of Summer; Backstreet Boys; Sam Smith and (some shameless self-promotion) 973's High School Reunion at Eatons Hill.
Criteria: To eligible for the list, the concert must have taken place in 2015 and be a standalone show (not part of a festival). The only big name concerts not eligible (because I didn't see them) were Robbie Williams and Kiss in October. But hey, a girl's got to holiday sometime... Now if you want to talk about the concerts I saw in the US... Britney's Vegas show would've bumped Ed Sheeran right out of third place. The only way you could improve that Britney show is if she actually sang!