Sydney Opera House
28 May 2015
As one if the most anticipated performances at VIVID Sydney – Daniel Johns’ debut performance night had finally arrived. His audience had waited four years for this concert – and he lingered a little longer as abstract noises filled the Sydney Opera House.
Welcomed onstage to applause, a thin screen projecting the music video separated johns from his audience (perhaps a metaphor for his years in hiding) as his band in matching white suits delved straight into the solo debut single Arial Love. The screen fell dramatically to the floor during ‘Chained’ as the stage lit up with all the might of an incredible Vivid light display.
Johns’ voice is remarkable. Smooth and powerful, the only thing that got more attention was when he took his suit jacket off to schoolgirl wolf whistles. The strongest songs on Talk as the strongest performances in his live performance. Set highlights were Cool On fire, and Too Many.
Then came the segment he started with a heavy sigh. The intro for ‘Walking in straight lines’ began – and the crowd lost their things. Any flame he had for this song has long gone, allowing a brief singalong – Johns yelled “ELECTRONIC MUSIC” and severed straight into a solo of electronic madness which left his fans startled.
Don’t ask Johns to perform the Silverchair mega hits. He’s just going to butcher it until you are over it completely. Stalking around the vast opera house stage for Silverchair’s ‘After all these years’ was one of the most beautiful moments of the set – and the song that won me over to his live performance.
Preaching to the converted, Johns had the crowd clapping, waving and yelling at his every command. Aside from the incredible band, most of the songs was carried by Johns own charisma. From sitting on the side of stage, pretending to play the harp, climbing over the stage, hiding behind his backing singers and pretend shooting the audience with his microphone – songs such as New York were given poetic license as Johns declared it his favourite song on the album.
Unapologetic for any mistakes, Johns is in his own world – and I’m not sure any of us are invited. Back onstage for an encore – ‘We are Golden’ shimmered. Closing the set with an intergalactic version of ‘somewhere over the rainbow’, Johns dropped his mic into the audience and walked offstage.