Review by Kiran Gupta
The Night at the Barracks has been something that I have been looking forward to a long time. The venue is absolutely gorgeous, with the beautiful Barracks at North Head lit up as the backdrop to a wonderful set with a massive stage and a great set-up around it. It has been postponed a few times but arriving today, I was very much looking forward to seeing Jessica Mauboy live in action.
We were first introduced to special guest Becca Hatch who came out to perform a short opening set. She had a great energy about her and really got the crowd going with her beautiful voice.
Then Jess came out and showed what a seasoned pro she was. She had the crowd going from the very start, with everyone super excited to see her in action. She seemed excited to be there too, and her energy lit up the venue with power and pizazz.
The thing you immediately notice about Jessica Mauboy is just how good her voice is. The power and resonance that she possesses is quite astonishing and indeed, she was able to belt out a 1.5 hour set of challenging songs with absolutely no trouble. And of course her presence around the stage was absolutely insane as well.
There were two major highlights of the set (which was awesome the whole way through by the way) were the stunning performance of the ballad ‘Little Things’ and her performance of ‘Burn’ where the whole crowd formed a giant mosh pit at the front of the stage. This wasn’t just any headline concert, this had a really fun and chilled vibe to it, which I think Jess appreciated too.
The acoustics were also phenomenal throughout the show. You often find in outdoor venues that either the sound doesn’t travel or it is distorted by a bass that is way too heavy. Here, the balance was just perfect and was really great to listen to and made it a very pleasurable experience.
Her band was great too and they really filled the space with wonderful music and professionalism. The whole set-up was fabulous, with gourmet food trucks and wine bars on site, there really was something for everyone. That said, it did feel as though the venue was a little underprepared for the sheer volume of people arriving with very little nearby parking for concertgoers and bottlenecks at every corner after the concert ended. Hopefully though, this was a little teething issue for the opening night of the festival which will get sorted as the shows progress. Apart from that little logistical issue though, it was an absolutely fabulous venue to sit under the stars and watch one of Australia’s biggest names play.
The festival goes for about a month and I’d highly encourage you to get down to see a show. From David Campbell to Bjorn Again to Tim Finn, there really is something for everyone and it is quite a unique experience to see an outdoor show of this size on the Northern side of the bridge so it’s definitely worth a watch if you are around. Overall, a beautiful night and an amazing show.