Sam Smith kicked off their Melbourne tour at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.
Halloween is often celebrated by trick or treating around your local cul-de-sac, but this year around 14,000 people chose to spend it at Rod Laver Arena with the one and only Sam Smith. Dubbing it ‘Unholyween’ on their socials, the October 31st show was the first of two Melbourne gigs of GLORIA the tour.
The tour is in support of their chart-topping fourth studio album, Gloria, which includes hits such as ‘Unholy’, ‘Love Me More’, and ‘I’m Not Here to Make Friends’.
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Sam, in their endearingly gentle speaking voice, shared with the crowd that the show is about freedom, and that feeling is what they wanted people to take away from it. Sam exemplified that throughout, of course through their songs and their dancing, but also through their wardrobe. Although I lost count after the sixth costume change, each of Sam’s outfits were stunning in their own ways; whether they were in a sparkling ballgown (I might have teared up seeing them absolutely owning this outfit), a pair of platform boots and golden slacks, a pair of jeans, or in bedazzled budgie smugglers, Sam’s ability to unapologetically express who they are in all of their multifaceted glory is something we could all aspire to.
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The stage design comprised of a large, golden, stage-length statue of Aphrodite, around which their six versatile dancers (with highly enviable twerking skills!) performed throughout the concert. Joining in on the choreography at times, Sam impressed the crowd with their dance moves. The dancers remained full of energy in their sheer, sparkling outfits, and the troupe also eloquently filled in the gaps when Sam would be quickly changing attire offstage, to make the transitions seamless.
Having begun the gig with their much-loved classics, such as ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘I’m Not the Only One’, the audience was singing along unanimously from the start. Starting this way also felt like a beautiful ode to the foundation of Sam’s career, before progressing through to their newer works. The night was split into three acts – love, beauty, and sex – which took the crowd on a very well-curated journey through Sam’s discography, and (seemingly) their personal journey of liberation and self-acceptance. RuPaul’s famous line “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” was sampled, which reiterated this prioritisation of self-love.
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Ending the show with ‘Unholy’ felt fitting. It well and truly encapsulated the Halloween theme, with Sam dressed in devil horns, fishnets, and with a pitchfork in hand, and the mosh pit was a sea of people wearing red light up horns purchased from the merch stands.
Not only this, but the dance track became a viral sensation on Tik Tok and topped charts worldwide, and this year won Sam and Kim Petras a Grammy. A vastly different style from Sam’s career-making ballads, which they started the show with, Unholy was the perfect climactic end to their Melbourne set, and the personal journey of GLORIA the tour.
Appearing genuinely grateful for the love and support, the British singer put on an amazing show that has left us thinking about it long after the house lights came up at the end of the night.