There has to be something said for the power of nostalgia.
Despite not having any major success in Australia as of late – at least comparatively to when they first burst on the scene in the mid-90s – The Corrs packed out Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena to practical maximum capacity as they delighted fans with a set of predominant classics.
As much as it was a show celebrating the Irish quartet of Andrea Corr (lead vocals, tin whistle), Sharon Corr (violin, vocals), Caroline Corr (drums, percussion, bodhran, vocals) and Jim Corr (guitar, piano, keyboard, vocals), “The Corrs Down Under” had a sense of the festival about it as prior to their energetic and oft-emotional set (they didn’t appear on stage until 9:30pm), Adelaide three-piece Germein, American singer-songwriter Toni Childs, and returning Sydney pop icon Natalie Imbruglia warmed the receptive crowd up with their respective sets.
After Germein proved they have the vocals and charm to hold an arena’s attention with a brief set, Toni Childs continued the rock-based vibe, walking on stage barefoot, announcing it was her birthday (so, you just know the crowd is serenading her later), quietly sitting down and after talking of how she’ll be “Starting with the old stuff and then moving to the new stuff”, she kicked off with her 1991 Top 5 ARIA hit “I’ve Got To Go Now”. Childs, whose distinguished voice silenced the crowd when it was on display, continued her walk down memory lane with “Stop Your Fussin'”, before she introduced her new music, which maintained her funk-meets-rock sound, but incorporated an almost sensory-like experience as she invited Sydney to close their eyes and give into weightlessness.
Very much taking the audience on a journey through time with her evolving sound, Childs finished out by affirming to the audience – and coming off stage to interact directly with her fans – with the lyrics “You are beautiful. You are gorgeous”, from “I Believe In You”. Given the reaction, it’s safe to say the crowd felt the same affirmations should be relayed to the Hawaiian-turned-Byron Bay chanteuse.
The power of female storytelling continued with the arrival of Natalie Imbruglia. Running onstage, and later indicating to the crowd that she and her band had no soundcheck (which explained the slight franticness in her actions), the soaring “What It Feels Like” kicked things off; the pop track one of the few from her recent “Firebird” album to earn a showcase, with “On My Way”, “Build It Better”, “Just Like Old Times” and “Maybe It’s Great” further reminding the crowd that her new music is just as lyrically complex and radio friendly as the more prominent hits that so often define her.
Of course, Imbruglia is smart enough to know that said-defining hits are going to truly amp up the crowd, so she treated us to “Shiver” and “Wrong Impression” (from her 2001 and 2005 albums “White Lilies Island” and “Counting Down The Days”, respectively), with the onslaught of the cultural-reset that is her 1997 debut “Left Of The Middle” peppered throughout. “Wishing I Was There” and the heartbreaking “Smoke” reminded us just why we made that album such a staple of the time, with the album cut “Leave Me Alone”, a jazz-fused alt-pop track, rounding out the tease before “Torn” and “Big Mistake” closed her out. To say “Torn” truly lit up the stadium would be an understatement, as the shine from everyone’s phones the moment those opening chords hit provided enough extra lighting for the singer to see how beloved she remains.
That 90s angst that she so effortlessly tapped into was quickly washed away though as soon as the booming drums were heard that accompanied the opening of The Corrs’ “Only When I Sleep”; the four-piece announcing their return to the stage with a dramatic video entrance that, despite its “bigness” never overshadowed the lush vocals of Andrea.
The rush and loudness of the crowd very much indicated that The Corrs’ set was to be one of interaction, as each performance seemed to envelop Sydney further and further. As they belted out such continual winners as “Forgiven Not Forgotten” and “What Can I Do”, before resting their voices for a series of instrumental Celtic jigs that dazzled onlookers, it was often the quieter moments that seemed to stir the loudest.
As much as Andrea’s voice has defined The Corrs, it was a welcome choice to let the lead singer – who couldn’t have been more charming if she tried – to take a much needed breather halfway through to allow sisters Caroline and Sharon to showcase their stunning tones; A cover of Mary Black’s “No Frontiers” left the stadium practically speechless.
It didn’t take long for the energy to rise once more though, and the duo of Fleetwood Mac covers, “Little Lies” and “Dreams”, and the uplifting “So Young” reminded us why we embraced the group for the better part of almost three decades now; their debut feature “Forgiven Not Forgotten” released in 1995. After first closing their set with “I Never Loved You Anyway” – somehow the happiest break-up song there is – it was the encore of “Runaway” and “Breathless” that absolutely blew the roof off. As Andrea, visibly overcome with emotion, let the crowd essentially sing the former love song for her (to her?), the tonic of the latter’s soaring pop sensibilities proved the perfect closer to a night that encapsulated the building of sentiment.
There can be those that debate it was a night built on the past, but given the state of our present, it was clear Sydney had no problem being reminded of such bygone simplicities – and our future could certainly do with such fine-tuning.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
“The Corrs Down Under” is currently touring across Australia. For VIP package inclusions and cost, please visit Ticketek.com.au or for further ticketing and event information, visit the official Corrs website.