Noah Kahan puts on a breathtaking solo performance in Melbourne – Sidney Myer Music Bowl (17.01.24)

Noah Kahn

While American singer-songwriter Noah Kahan is certainly no stranger to Australia, after the success of his 2023 album Stick Season, he’s here and playing the biggest Aussie venues he’s ever headlined. Kicking off at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl, last night’s show was one for the books.

Earlier in the day, Kahan shared on social media that his band was still stuck in the USA and unable to catch a flight out to make it in time for the Melbourne shows. Therefore, he announced that he would play entirely on his own, just him and his acoustic guitar. To be honest, this made me quite excited and it felt exciting to know that Melbourne would get a slightly different show to the rest of the tour. It also shows just what kind of performer Kahan is- he’s always prepared to put on a show and give it his all despite things sometimes not going exactly to plan.

It was a balmy Melbourne evening, and after a day of non-stop downpour the sun was finally shining over Sidney Myer Music Bowl, setting a beautiful atmosphere over an already gorgeous venue.  Opening act Dylan Gossett received heartening support from the crowd in his first international concert, and his performance seamlessly complemented the evening.

At precisely 9 pm, a voice playfully introduced Noah’s absent band, eliciting laughter from the audience. Unfazed, Kahan stepped onto the stage, visibly nervous yet excited. Launching into “All My Love,” the crowd’s roar reached unprecedented levels. With no backing tracks or band, the audience clapped along, and Kahan, boosted by our enthusiasm, exuded confidence.

Despite being solo, Kahan’s stage presence remained vibrant, demonstrating his ability to engage the audience. Humorous banter about his missing band created a relaxed atmosphere, turning the grand show into an intimate, enjoyable experience. The text projections on the screen, including witty statements like “My first show here in 5 years and my band didn’t show up!” and “I’m essentially just Ed Sheeran now,” added to the light-hearted vibe.

“Everywhere, Everything” was stunning, with the crowd holding up their phones and swaying along. The crowd was then treated to the unreleased song “Spoiled”, before one of his bandmates , who had successfully made their way Down Under,  joined him on stage for “Northern Attitude”. This one was a true highlight of the night, you could tell just how much effort and energy Kahan was putting into the show, and at one point he even walked down to the front row, immersing himself in the energy radiating off his supporters.

The set slowed down with “You’re Gonna Go Far”, followed by the beautiful “Call Your Mom”. The crowd was quiet as they took in the stunning performance, which was made even more breathtaking by the outdoor venue on a lovely Melbourne night. “Dial Drunk” had everyone off their feet, followed by the live debut of the unreleased “Pain is Cold Water”.

Kahan then shared a heartfelt anecdote, reflecting on his career and how he will always stay true to who he is and never forget where he came from, before singing his 2019 track “Young Blood”. He then closed out the show with the track that changed everything for him, “Stick Season”. It was quite an emotional performance, as he clearly felt the love emanating from the crowd who showed unwavering support despite things not necessarily going to plan.

As he left the stage, the crowd stayed, chanting “one more song!”,  they urged him to come back. After a while, he literally skipped back onto the stage, saying “I don’t have anymore hits to play! If I knew you wanted an encore, I wouldn’t have played “Stick Season” so soon!” The crowd laughed, and then Noah did an impromptu encore, playing the fan-favourite “View Between Villages”. This was truly the perfect way to close out the show for good.

I truly mean it when I say that this one of the most captivating and beautiful shows I have been to. The casual nature of it made for such a fun atmosphere, and Kahan’s ability to work the crowd and still put on a flawless performance despite not having his band or his stage set-up was truly incredible to witness.

Apart from Melbourne’s second show, the rest of the tour will see Noah accompanied by his full band, and while I’m sure this will come as a relief to the singer-songwriter, it was certainly a special and unique experience for Melbourne, and one I’m sure that no one will be forgetting any time soon.