Images and words by Sheldon Ang Photography
“Missy Higgins in Prison”
Date: 15 April 2021
Venue: Fremantle Prison
“I see that everyone is sitting… I like it like that, ‘coz I’m 37 and old”.MISSY HIGGINS – TONGUE STUCK IN CHEEK!
The music of Missy Higgins seems to have eternally graced the Australian airwaves, with poignant tales of high school memories and angst-fuelled university anthems seemingly flushing away life’s frustrations in a delicious stream of Australian number one albums; The Sound of White, On A Clear Night and The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, followed by a select collection of albums and single releases in recent years.
After a series of cancellations and reschedules, the 9-time ARIA award winner finally got the chance to enthral the Perth crowd with some of the most mellifluous vocals ever.
Bathed in a solemn ambience under a single spotlight that seemed rather congruous to the ghostly surroundings of Fremantle Prison, Higgins sparked off the night with No Secret, through a solo keyboard performance, held the masses spellbound with every word, followed by If I’m honest and Ten Days.
The Melbournian performed before a near-capacity Covid-restricted crowd in the first of a two-night performance at the prison, before completing the near sold-out WA tour at Margaret River. Higgins is no stranger to being on stage before a large crowd, given she has opened and performed with Ed Sheeran in stadiums across Australia in one of the most successful tours ever. (Apparently, Missy was Ed’s first crush over a decade ago – but that’s another story…).
The first spice of the night was Futon Couch from her latest album, Solastalgia – released in 2018. “It’s a story about meeting my future husband in Broome as I was sitting on a Futon Couch… and the rest – as they say, is history”. The track leans towards a heavier indie popish sound, with the positive vibe sparking a handful of patrons to their feet.
Occasionally, Higgins charmed the crowd with her life’s anecdotes and even improvised on two occasions while her guitars were being tweaked, and finally borrowing an acoustic from Helen Shanahan – who was the first support act.
Ben Lee was the other crowd warmer, who dazzled the crowd like a super busker or Byron Bay specialist with hits such as Catch My Disease. Although he was scheduled for 45 minutes, his performance seemingly was reduced by 15 minutes, sadly missing the other massive hit – We’re All In This Together – which would have been ironically pleasing to most, given that this sing-along track is the anthem in the age of corona. Moreover, Lee would have received a lot of dough from that advert. Regardless, the entertainment was probably sufficient to rev the crowd, despite some that might have felt somewhat short-changed. (Get over it. The Ed).
The surprise of the night came from the rendition of Destiny Child’s Survivor, as Higgins sprinkled some hip hop into the mix, with added Eminem-esque conviction and a bouncy boom-boom swagger. The night ended with The Special Two, before closing with Scar and Steer, with the former remaining her biggest hit by reaching number one on the ARIA charts and winning the Best Pop Release in 2004.
The performance tonight underpinned the prodigious talent of Higgins, who showcased her musicianship and sensitive vocals, recognisable, with her pronunciation of syllables that were divinely crisp and delivered so effortlessly, while moonlighting seamlessly between her guitar and piano.
Hats off to Zaccaria Concerts and Touring and Menard PR for backing and supporting their artists, doing what they do best, providing our wonderful State with quality entertainment, and at a time when we most need it. It is duly appreciated!