To put it plainly, there’s simply no mountain too high for Kacey Musgraves. The country superstar made colossal waves last year with her country-pop crossover album Golden Hour, and the tide has yet to settle. After performing one of Coachella’s most acclaimed sets, having the most critically acclaimed album of the year and winning every single Grammy she was nominated for – including Album Of The Year – Musgraves brought her Oh, What A World tour to a sold out Enmore Theatre crowd last night. And oh, what a night it was.
As soon as she stepped onto the stage to the welcoming song ‘Slow Burn’, she completely captivated the crowd with her poise and grace. Her pitch perfect voice didn’t falter once, and that standard was kept throughout the whole show. Once she finished ‘Wonder Woman’, her kicker of a personality shone through and suddenly the reason why Musgraves appeals to so many became very clear.
Besides her progressive lyricism that her genre generally steers clear from, she’s a country artist through and through. She radiates a calming energy that is only strengthened by her onstage class and grace. Then, when she’s just bantering with the crowd, she is crude, funny and unashamedly herself. She is the kick and edge that country-pop needs, after the clean-cut and perfected good girl persona we had for years from Taylor Swift. Musgraves is the sour to Swift’s sweet, the spice to her sugar and she gives no sorts of fucks.
In fact, her beaming personality might have been the highlight of the whole night. From her adamant refusal to do a shoey at the crowd’s request – “I’m not drinking out of your fucking shoe! You could have athlete’s foot or something” – to finding out just how many members of the Sydney have seen a huntsman spider – “It’s a hard no from me” – to a blunt “oh shut the fuck up!” when the crowd booed at her mention of Brisbane, Musgraves was entirely herself and that energy beamed into the crowd and allowed us all to be ourselves too.
Self-love and empowerment is a big theme in her discography, but it was made explicitly clear when she performed ‘Follow Your Arrow’. A song that echoes the same sentiments as Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’ or Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’, ‘Follow Your Arrow’ saw a whole slew rainbow flags and fans being held up by members of the crowd which Musgraves promptly waved herself. Her fearlessness in pushing progressive ideals – even though it should be standard – in a stereotypically traditional genre proves that she is, at all costs, genuine.
The best part about everyone being comfortable to be themselves is that you become comfortable with around complete strangers as well. Near the beginning of her set, she made everyone high five the person next to them (before sticking two middle fingers up in the air, of course). The strong sense of family was impossible to ignore – whether it be the family of Kacey and her fans or Kacey and her band – but she made sure she took it all the way for Mother’s Day. Before playing her track ‘Mother’, she filmed the crowd wishing her mother, Karen, a happy Mother’s Day!
“Happy Mother’s Day, Karen!” – Sydney, Australia pic.twitter.com/O4FF6EqlYC
— K A C E Y (@KaceyMusgraves) May 12, 2019
As the set progressed, the band moved to the centre of the stage to form a mini string section, accompanied by a keyboard, as Musgraves gave us lush renditions of Golden Hour standouts like ‘Oh, What A World’ and ‘Love Is A Wild Thing’. She even gave us a stunning cover of Weezer’s ‘Island In The Sun’. But her best moments came in the final two tracks.
Accompanied by a piano and appropriately multi-coloured lighting that bled into one another, her performance of ‘Rainbow’ was captivating. Never before has the Enmore Theatre been so quiet yet so electric. So, naturally, when she closed her set with ‘High Horse’ it was like a colourful storm of energy. While she wrote the words “you ain’t ever gonna come down” with an entirely different meaning, for attendees at her Sydney show it was an affirmation that this sort of show will have you on a high of love and laughter that isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
We ain’t ever gonna come down, and that’s totally fine by us.
Gallery: Kacey Musgraves – Enmore Theatre, Sydney 12/05/19 / Photos: Dan Lynch