It's hard to believe sometimes that Joanna Newsom is one of us. She seems to inhabit a world that we don't feel a part of. Her music is other worldly, ethereal and almost angelic. After a 5 year absence she returned to the Sydney Opera House
on Thursday night as part of the Sydney Festival
. This was the fourth time we had seen her and it was just as magical and wonderful as all the previous times. Of course the harp sets her apart but it so much more than that. There is the voice, it's certainly unique. But it also tender and strong and powerful. But it's more than that. Maybe it's the lyrics. They are complex and strange and beautiful. The music is complex and surprising. Maybe it's a combination of all of it. It certainly works and this show was just magical, filled with beautiful and tender moments.
The show was mainly made up from Joanna's newest album, the excellent 'Divers'. This song itself was a standout, but so were memorable songs such as 'Anecdotes' and 'Sapokanikan'. But perhaps the absolute highlight was the epic song of love in 'Emily'. This totally floored me. Her band was wonderful, so talented and adept at everything. Especially Ryan Francesconi who basically played everything. Also should mention the work of Pete Newsom, her brother, on drums. As closing song 'Baby Birch' lingered long in the mind I thought how lucky to have talents such as Newsom exist in the world.
Bridges and Balloons
Soft as Chalk
Waltz of the 101st Lightborne
Have One On Me
Peach, Plum, Pear
Leaving the City
Time, as a Symptom