I’ve got to say, there’s something about seeing an epic live show that makes you want to tell the world. I was lucky enough to catch Massive Attack in Melbourne on their Australian leg of their ‘Heligoland’ tour. And it turned out to be one of the best shows I have seen in years; it was a truly huge performance.
Sidney Myer Bowl is an outdoor venue in the centre of Melbourne and it couldn’t have been a more perfect setting with clear skies on a warm(ish) night. Massive Attack kicked off their set with ‘United Snakes’ which seriously tested the sound system, before being joined by Martina Topley Bird for ‘Babel’ from ‘Heligoland’.
A huge cheer welcomed the first appearance of Daddy G onstage as he and 3D performed ‘Risingson’ (sadly Daddy G is only onstage for about 5 songs).
Throughout the night vocals were shared by Daddy G, Martina Topley Bird, Horace Andy and Deborah Miller; Horace Andy providing vocals on ‘Angel’, ‘Splitting The Atom’ and ‘Girl I Love You’, and Deborah Miller for a colossal version of ‘Safe From Harm’ and the classic ‘Unfinished Sympathy’.
The performance of the vocalists and the band was brought even more alive by the amazing lighting which set the mood, generated images and communicated messages.
United Visual Artists provided the graphics behind band throughout the show and sent out anti war, anti capitalism, pro civil right and anti tabloid journalism messages. Whatever your beliefs, it was a highly thought-provoking and exceptionally executed visual design.
The band finished the main set with ‘Inertia Creeps’ before an encore that included an epic ‘Atlas Air’ and the closer ‘Karmacoma’.
At the end of the set Massive Attack received a standing ovation for what seemed like five minutes, and in response they applauded the crowd. They clearly love visiting Australia and Australian audiences clearly love them.
The show is an aural and visual assault which left me, and most of the audience, buzzing with energy, and made me want to pull out all of their albums the next day; something a live performance hasn’t made me want to do in years. If they are coming to your town then check them out; this Massive Attack tour is truly magnificent.
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