A little over a year after Sia collapsed on Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom stage a few songs into her set, the Australian singer-songwriter was back to give it another go. To be honest, I think a lot of people never thought it would happen—to see Sia sing live again—but the pint-sized blonde is full of surprises, right down to the performance she gave on August 19.
Mexican songstress Ximena Sariñana started the night off, and after a short set, Denmark’s Oh Land took to the stage. The former ballerina whose full name is actually Nanna Øland Fabricius was nothing but high energy, dancing around the stage, flailing her dramatic black fringe wings, and occasionally banging around a drumstick as she performed mainly from her 2011 self-titled sophomore release. Her live vocals were confident and impressive, especially on fast-paced belting numbers “Voodoo” and “Sun of a Gun”. On the haunting “Wolf and I” and lullaby-worthy “White Lights,” where Oh Land got to show off her higher register, the choral-invoking oohs and aahs were clear and controlled. Oh Land did justice to a cover of Sia’s “Soon We’ll Be Found”, but what really got the crowd going was seeing Sia make a surprise appearance on stage, with a guitar strapped to her petit frame no less, during Oh Land’s final dance-happy number “We Turn It Up”.
About 45 minutes later, it was Sia’s turn at redemption. “Damn, I can smell the doobs… nice doobs,” were the first words that came out of her mouth before launching right into the funk-tastic belter “The Fight” from 2010’s mostly joyful-sounding We Are Born. It wasn’t until after two more songs, “Buttons”, the hidden track off 2008’s Some People Have Real Problems, and the newer “Hurting Me Now,” that Sia acknowledged what happened at her last Vancouver show, telling the audience, “Sorry about last time.”
The next few highlights included two ballads, “I’m In Here” and “I Go to Sleep”, where Sia’s sultry, raspy vocals over the slightly alt-country-infused instrumentals clearly transported the still and silent audience to another place. This was contrasted with the soulful stylings on “Little Black Sandals” moments after, and “You’ve Changed” later on in the show.
When Sia wasn’t singing, she was practically a one-woman comedy show, yammering away on everything from the vaginas adorning her shoes and the collar of her dress, to naming the stage hand “Sexual Sausages”, to her upcoming project with The Strokes’ Nick Valenci, to which she performed a yet-to-be-released, very Strokes-sounding song called “Hostage”.
In the latter half of Sia’s set, she mainly focused on songs that showed off her powerful belting voice and magnificent range, including the heart-wrenching “You Have Been Loved”, “Cloud”, and “Soon We’ll Be Found”, where Oh Land came back out and worked backup vocals.
Returning on stage for her two-song encore, Sia laughed and said, “Thanks for staying. Here are the songs you paid to see.” First she launched into the happy, dance-inducing “Clap Your Hands” before slowing down for the piece de resistance, “Breath Me” from 2004’s breakthrough Colour the Small One.
Right before Sia and her band left the stage—the last one she would grace during this tour—she asked for the house lights to be turned on so that she could see the crowd. “Thank you, thank you,” she kept saying in her small, worn-out speaking voice as the audience continued to cheer. It seemed that Sia had gotten exactly what she wanted—a shot at redemption—and for the fans, it was a near-perfect show.