Vivid Live returned to Sydney for the first time in three years, giving Meg Mac a chance to return to the stage and successfully close out the festival. Playing her first Sydney show in close to three years, the Melbourne artist was better than she’s ever been and returned to the stage with more confidence, honesty and banter than she’s ever shown before.
Debuting new music must be nerve racking at the best of times. Doing so after such a long time between drinks even more so. Despite this, Meg Mac showed the quality vocalist and musician she is, and more than set the scene for her new album, that if based on this performance is bound to be headed for plenty Album of the Year lists. Playing a set that spanned her career to date, from her earliest single “Every Lie” and self-titled debut EP, through to both her albums Low Blows and Hope and now her unreleased new album, the 75 minute performance had something for all fans, whether old or new.
Featuring early in the set, “Ride It” was an highlight from the get go, as Meg’s sister (and backing singer) Hannah crushed her vocals in the bridge, complimenting Meg’s and brought the song to its climax and peak. Followed by new track “Something in the Water”, Mac explained the song is about when you know the vibes are off, but you just can’t quite put your finger on why they’re so off. With plenty of love in the room for both of the McInerney sisters, new track “Don’t You Cry” was a winner, as it was delivered sans band, with only an acoustic guitar for accompaniment.
Much of the middle and latter parts of the night were like a greatest hits set. As someone who’s loved everything Meg Mac has released, I’ll admit I haven’t really gone out of my way to listen to her much over the past three years. With that in mind, it was good for my own mind to be able to recall just about ever lyric of the closing 45 minutes of the show, as “Low Blows” (the first song of the night to really get the crowd moving), “Give Me My Name Back”, “Maybe It’s My First Time”, “I’m Not Coming Back” (featuring a call and response of the chorus between Mac and the crowd) and “Never Be” all got a run.
The absolute best moment of the night came via the one-two punch of “Something Tells Me” and new track “Is It Worth Being Sad”. Mac divulged that after scrapping a new record in its entirety weeks before its release, she headed to the country and removed herself completely from the world. Questioning whether she made the right decision, she finally penned “Is It Worth Being Sad” and everything fell into place after. The way “Something Tells Me” was performed, with its sincerity and brilliance, shows it was built for a concert hall like the Sydney Opera House, just as Meg Mac’s vocals were.
With every blood donor’s favourite song, “Roll Up Your Sleeves”, getting a feature in the night’s closing stages, the show came to a close on the Bill Withers cover “Grandma’s Hands”. Forceful and soulful as always, the song encapsulated everything good and great about Meg Mac. For an artist who’s been away for so long, Meg Mac didn’t miss a beat in her return to Sydney. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait so long for it to happen again.