The boss lady shines on stage

Jessica Mauboy in "The Boss Lady Tour" at The Star Event Centre, Sydney, Saturday, 2 April, 2022. Photo: Danny Waterson.

Review: The Boss Lady Tour by Jessica Mauboy, Star Event Centre, Sydney – Saturday, 2 April, 2022. Reviewed by music editor Danny Waterson.

★★★★1/2

Since bursting onto the entertainment scene in 2006 as a fresh-faced talented contestant on Australian Idol, Jessica Mauboy has become an idol to many herself, via multi-platinum albums, numerous hit singles, a role in the Australian film The Sapphires and as a judge on the television reality series The Voice Australia.

Now, Mauboy is back on the road with The Boss Lady Tour, her first large scale tour in several years and her first since leaving her long-time management and record label. Serving as a comeback of sorts, this tour is a sign of things to come, after the ’70s slow- funk single ‘Glow’ late last year and a new album on the way.

Mauboy is clearly keen to do things her way, as the title of her tour suggests.

The sold-out mixed ages audience at the Star Event Centre were buzzing as Mauboy and her impressive band took to the stage against the deep bass beats of ‘Blessing’ from 2019’s acclaimed Hilda album.

Dressed in a black and grey bodysuit, with a full length red leather coat and her hair plaited, Mauboy looked glamorous and gorgeous as ever. Sparring vocally with her two backing vocalists, Gemma Lyon and Nadia Aya, they stood atop of the stage and staircase, dancing, moving and generally having lots of fun.

Jessica Mauboy takes The Star Event Centre stage in The Boss Lady Tour. Photo: Danny Waterson.

More early hits came with ‘Burn’ (an Australian ARIA #1 in 2008) and ‘Been Waiting’. The crowd, including the very enthusiastic young girls close to my seat, sang along to every word.

After a rousing and joyous version of ‘To the End of the Earth’, Mauboy treated the adoring audience to new tracks she has been writing and creating with her new label, Warner Music Australia: ‘Aphrodite’ and ‘Automatic’. Both new songs exuded confidence and mature songwriting, with a flair for ’70s style pop-funk and big catchy choruses, which went down well with the audience.

A surprise, energetic cover of Robyn’s ‘Show Me Love’ shook the auditorium, followed by a dazzling funky version of ‘Glow’.

The loud and enthusiastic Saturday night audience lapped up the joyous energy as the songs kept coming, including ‘Never Ever’, ‘Selfish’ and ‘Can I Get a Moment?’. Mauboy, ecstatic with the rapturous reception, cried: “Sydney!”

During the next stage of the show, Mauboy dropped the red leather coat, grabbed the girls and took them to the front for a cheeky and sexy rendition of the song ‘Jealous’.

Jessica Mauboy, centre, and backing dancers get sexy at The Star Event Centre, Sydney, Saturday, 2 April, 2022. Photo: Danny Waterson.

Returning to the stage in a glittering silver jumpsuit, Mauboy launched into ‘Butterfly’, after sampling Mariah Carey’s ‘Butterfly’ tune of the same name. Mauboy and band then sat atop the staircase for an acoustic section of the show which included ‘Let Me Be Me’, ‘The Day Before I Met You’, ‘Never Be The Same’ and ‘Gotcha’ – a song she says she was very proud to write for the soundtrack to her feature film, The Sapphires.

It was perhaps during this section that Mauboy was at her most relaxed, chatting easily with the audience; her humour and affection for her band on full display.

At one point, a fan made his way to the front of the stage demanding a selfie with the star, who took it all in her stride. With the audience in fits of laughter and applause, Mauboy took a series of selfies with the fan while lying on the stage. She later joked: “Has he even got a ticket?”

It’s this endearing and genuine quality that makes Mauboy so popular. A heartfelt acoustic version of ‘Fallin’’ (from The Secret Daughter television series) and the massively popular ballad ‘Little Things’ (a Double Platinum hit in 2019) closed off this section of the show, complete with the audience waving their phones and singing along.

The official music video for Jessica Mauboy’s ‘Glow’ – a rendition of which went down well at Saturday night’s concert. Video: Jessica Mauboy/YouTube.

While we didn’t get the title track of the tour in full, the next section featured a snippet of ‘Boss Lady’ followed by the R’n’B infused ‘Up/Down’ from Mauboy’s debut album. The energy was next level for ‘Pop A Bottle’, ‘This Ain’t Love’ ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Inescapable’.

The encore was the Australian Eurovision entry song from 2018, ‘We Got Love’.

Mauboy never stopped smiling during the show and was vocally perfect throughout. She looked almost tearful at the end of the show and grateful for the reception.

‘We Got Love’ sang Mauboy – and that was certainly the vibe at her mesmerising and thoroughly enjoyable Sydney show.

Jessica Mauboy’s The Boss Lady Tour continues around Australia through April. For tickets and further information, visit https://www.jessicamauboy.com.au/tour.

Danny Waterson is the music editor of the Sydney Sentinel.

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