Two worlds collided when Goodna rapper Lisi performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra at the Princess Theatre in Brisbane on Saturday 25 June. Sponsored by Red Bull Symphonic, fans were treated to the special event with a 25-piece orchestra – conducted by Nicholas Buc – bringing Lisi’s biggest hits to life.
The night began with a Welcome to Country introduction to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and offer a formal greeting. Shortly after, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra filed on stage and assumed their positions in wait. Conductor Nicholas Buc later emerged and bowed before the audience with Lisi storming out in formal attire to big cheers. The collective launched into apt opener “The Come Up” and the crowd was buzzing.
Booming 808s and bright drill beats laid the foundation for eerie string stabs and big horn sections, bringing a cinematic quality to Lisi’s tight flows and deft switchups. Sydney drill sensation Chillinit was one of the artists attending the show, frequently calling out from the top-tier seating. Fellow Brisbane rapper Nokz came out for “Like This” and Lisi shared a story about witnessing the brutal stabbing of a close friend for “Til the Death”.
Representing his 4300 postcode throughout the night, Lisi’s crew Th4 W3st appeared amongst the seated crowd and made their way to the stage for a live collab. Samoan gospel choir SELAH assisted on “Give It Back”, dedicated to Lisi’s parents sitting in the front row, followed by a captivating performance from Samoan drummers. The night was a family affair, with his mum, dad, friends and longtime collaborators amongst those in the crowd, and you could definitely feel the love.
On that note, Sydney rapper Shely210 joined for “Look At Me Now” and singer and The Voice contestant Faith Sosene graced the audience with her soulful vocals. Lisi’s lyrical references of football, money problems and family life make his music relatable to the everyday citizen, contributing to the wide success of his 2020 debut album Average Man. He thanked the QSO then left the stage before returning with the choir and asking everyone to get on their feet for fitting encore “Good Life”.
There are few blends of musical styles as exciting as fusing classical with hip hop and Lisi and the QSO didn’t miss a beat. Bringing the grit of Australian street-life to the class of the Princess Theatre made for a memorable night and one to set the bar high. After Bliss n Eso’s recent performance with the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, one can only hope that this meeting of musical worlds becomes a regular occurrence.