Soft lighting hints at a flower decorated stage while outlining the silhouettes of Brisbane Symphony Orchestra as they take their seats. Another figure appears on stage, greets a violinist with a Covid-approved elbow bump and takes his place as conductor and orchestral lead. The lights brighten and the ethereal Vera Blue takes to the stage of Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall.
Vera Blue’s recent performance, aptly named Strings Attached, saw her join forces with the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra to rework her most popular tracks and even a few new ones.
Opening track Everything is Wonderful acted as an ode to the evening’s merging of genres with classical instruments bringing an exciting twist to an already adventurous artist’s performance.
The sound production showcased her vocals beautifully while nodding to the design of the Fortitude Music Hall.
Vera’s rendition of hugely popular track Settle was a superb example of her genre adaptability before diving into track Lady Powers.
Not missing a moment to lay praise on her band members, including multi-talented instrumentalist and producer Ross James, Vera explained the process and creativity behind the orchestral performance. Having worked closely on the sound and arrangements with James, she described the producer as “a dark horse” and credited him with creating sounds and arrangements that ‘blew her mind’. Safe to say the audience was kindred in that notion for the follow up track, a piece written around the harp, had the room in awe.
“When I was really little, maybe four, Mum asked us what instrument I wanted to learn and I said the harp. Being in a small town, mum had to explain we didn’t have access to a harp so found me something else but now I’m in awe of it. This is Hold.”
An insight into her childhood and musical beginnings worked as a great introduction to the song, planting a new emphasis on the instrument and its importance in the track. Hold truly comes to life on the harp and was arguably one of the standout pieces of the evening.
Next on the set list was Vera’s track Lie To Me which featured an exciting light display as flashes of red swept their way across the stage.
Grabbing her violin, Vera showcased her skills on the strings creating sonic moments that felt as if they belonged in the romantic scenes of smalls cottages and Love Actually. A romantic moment before moving into a very cool, very funky version of Private.
It would be easy to argue Vera’s pink dress had been designed for this track specifically for the skirt and music seemed to swing in unison.
“Didn’t that just blow your socks off?”
Yes Vera, it truly did.
It is from this performance we learn that it was in fact the violin that Vera was allowed to play as a child instead of the harp.
Following on is self-described tearjerker Like I Remember You; a song dedicated to maneuvering through the dark to find the person you were before a shadowy moment.
You Make All The Pretty Girls Cry, new song The Curse and Regular Touch pre-ceded final song Mended, all of which were greeted by huge applause.
The applause carried through to after Vera left the stage and succeeded in scoring an encore which was an exciting take on her single Rushing Back which she co-created with Flume.
A very special mention to support act of the evening Lily Papas who warmed the stage beautifully, treating audiences to her goosebump-inducing vocals with tracks Wild, Jackson, latest single Freak and Party girl to name a few. Her performance was an immaculate demonstration of her vocal capabilities and obvious lyrical talents which we look forward to further exploring on Friday when she releases her debut album Encore.
Vera Blue’s Strings Attached performance was a fantastic evening of musical surprises and has rekindled an already existing love for classical instruments by showcasing their ability to gracefully intertwine with even the most unexpected of songs.