24 March 2011
Acer Arena, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday March 23
Judging by all the bouncing mini skirts and boob tubes, the Acer Arena was more than ready for a night of R ‘n’ B, sticky sweat and hectic choreography at Usher’s first of four sold out Sydney performances.
American singer/songwriter Trey Songz had even the most scantily clad crowd member blushing when he tore off his singlet, shoved it down his pants and dangled it in front of the arena like meat before wolves.
“How many ladies love to ride?!” he yelled before Neighbours Know My Name. He then picked a girl to sit onstage with him and have a not so discreet pash behind his sweat-soaked singlet.
Usher rose up onto the stage in a haze of red smoke and fireworks, wearing what looked like a motorcycle helmet. Opening with Monster, She Don’t Know and Yeah, Usher’s incredible dance crew amazed, incorporating different styles of dance and theatre into the energetic set. Usher proved himself just as talented as he joined in the choreography, mostly skipping out on singing each chorus to devote his concentration to his MJ moves.
“Sydney I’m gonna take y’all back real quick,” he said before favourites like You Remind Me, You Make Me Wanna, Nice & Slow and Trading Places. With more costume changes than a Britney concert and sweat that fell like rain with each pirouette, we were more relieved than excited when he finally tore his shirt off.
“I'm gonna need one lovely lady from the crowd tonight.” Women were literally begging to join him onstage and after the dry sex show he performed on a couch with his selection, it more than made sense.
Perhaps the only disappointment in this visual feast was when Usher teased us with “Not too long ago I paid tribute to the greatest entertainer of all time, would it be right if I did it again?” Sparkling shoes appeared on a running treadmill in the middle of the stage.
“Had he not wore the white socks I wouldn't be able to wear the black shoes,” Usher climbed into his disco shoes and danced for less than two-minutes to a backing mash-up of Michael Jackson hits. More than a few of the crowd seemed unsatisfied with the singular moonwalk and only a few crotch grabs.
However, he did redeem himself in Caught Up when he appeared with a gold mic in the shape of a gun, blowing us all away (figuratively of course) with his hand skills. During final track More, the dancers turned the show into a circus with break dancing and explosion after beautiful explosion shooting from every corner.
Usher saved the best for last with OMG as the encore. It rained fireworks and white and blue confetti for a visually appeasing end to an even more spectacular night.
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