I saw Ciara perform a few years back at Rod Laver Arena and boy, was she good. Her live voice was a replica of her recordings and she moved like a true Hip-Hop artist. She is one talented lady, so I was happy to make my way over to Alumbra for a live, close and intimate show by the Goodies singer.
If you’re not into hot weather like me, then you would also think that it was a disgusting, yet not surprising summer’s night in Melbourne on the 22nd of February. With the mugginess invading the atmosphere, you can only imagine what a small club would feel like when at full capacity, even with an air-con on.
It started off as a very confusing day. Tickets displayed ‘4pm until late,’ whilst it also mentioned online, that tickets would be available at the door until 8pm. Nevertheless, to avoid being the losers that were there first, we made our way to the Docklands club by 5:30pm, only to have been made to wait until 6pm to at least begin standing in our designated queues. It was hot, and no water or form of air-conditioning was being offered during that wait. I found it ridiculous that the line with no pre-purchased tickets were allowed to enter first. This put a temporary damper to the evening.
If you have been to Alumbra before, you will be well aware of the relaxing nature of the outdoor area. This venue has a bit of a Thai or Balinese theme. This adds to the calm and friendly nature. You can enjoy a few drinks, whilst you can still speak to others over the slow tempo beats in the background.
The story was going around about Ciara being 2 hours late to one of her New Zealand shows, and that she performed 2 songs before leaving. That wasn’t the news I wanted to hear, whilst already frustrated about the heat and the potential sauna that would take over, once the room was open for the performance. At this point, we had no idea what time she would be coming out, so if she was late, we wouldn’t know it. The outdoor area was our entertainment for the moment.
I didn’t catch his name, but the DJ that played until she came on, was delightful. Playing nothing but the best in R&B and Hip-Hop we all grew up with, and the best ones of modern times, this guy was an amazing distraction to the disturbing heat and draining wait.
Finally 11-something, and the MC introduces Ciara to the stage. With a loud welcome, she thanked everybody and started the show. It was just her on the stage. This would work considering the size of it. There’s no room for big choreography and production. It was just her, in a long black T and her white kicks. Her hair thick, dark and long parted in the middle and always in front of her shoulders. She looked as good as she did 10 years ago, from what I could see. Being short and living in the age of technology, meant most of my viewing was on the phone screens in the air, in front of me. Despite this, there were those moments she, her physical self dominated my view through the cracks between heads and shoulders.
She performed the ones we know and loved, with a sing-a-long crowd. Goodies, Oh, 1, 2 Step, Your Body, they were all there. She didn’t actually sing to a backing tape, but sung above her own vocals, providing improvisation in between and when the songs came to the end, she sung achapalla. She is still a very talented vocalist. She included the audience which proved to be a great example for Ciara, that she does have a strong and loving fan base across the sea.
By the end, she promises to return with a big and proper tour in the future, and left the stage. Overall, she stayed somewhere between 20-30 minutes and sung 5 to 6 songs. All that wait, all that frustration for a little amount of time.
Sometimes these intimate shows are very personalised and special. But, with little room to breathe, a tall and intoxicated crowd, it made it very frustrating to enjoy the show in one spot, without having to push a few people toward the security guards to deal with, because of their constant need to take up more room than required to show their own moves.
I don’t think I will ever go to a show like this again, unless there are less tickets sold. I’ll stick to the big stadium shows and enjoy my seated viewing.
If it wasn’t for the length of the show (or lack of), singing over her own vocals, and the pathetic crowd behaviour, I would have given this at least a 4. She was great, but I give Ciara live at Alumbra in Melbourne a 2 out of 5.