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A once-embattled popstar, Kesha's live show was a beacon of hope

The singer's presence on stage reflected how much she has recently overcome.

Even if you aren’t a fan, it’s hard not to be aware of the battles Kesha has fought over the years. And while music journalism is wrought with clichés, I’m going to get one out of the wayright now – because Kesha’s rise from the ashes is akin to that of a phoenix, and the woman standing before us on the live stage is nothing short of glorious.

As soon as the black curtain dropped to reveal the stage, fans knew they were in for adifferent Kesha show. Kesha – dressed in all white and glittering like a disco ball – stood centre stage, surrounded by her six-piece band who were front and centre alongside her – unlike your usual popstar show where musicians are pushed in to hiding – and they proved as much of a spectacle as Kesha herself. Right from the opening call of “I’m a motherfucking woman” there was a feeling of triumph in the air. Not only because this tour was originally postponed due to an ACL injury, but because in the seven years since Australian fans saw her last, Kesha has fought a slew of very public personal battles.

The first surprise came with second track ‘Blah Blah Blah’ – the woozy electro-pop replaced with a rock’n’roll edge, as Kesha played guitar, an artist in complete control. And this was the vibe for the rest of the night. The club-ready electro-pop of her earlier tracks was, for the most part, completely absent, as Kesha – helped along by her band – transformed into a full blown rock’n’roll queen.

Older tracks like the now-riff heavy ‘We R Who We R’, ‘80s rocker ‘Your Love Is My Drug’, the woozy ‘Take It Off ’, and even her Pitbull-duet ‘Timber’ received much of the same treatment. This tied in perfectly with the direction of her latest album Rainbow, and while tracks from that record were sparse throughout her setlist, its sentiment carried through the entire night.

In between all the attitude, the stripped back one-two of new album tracks ‘Bastards’ and ‘Godzilla’ showcased Kesha’s full musicianship. With not much more than a couple of acoustic guitars backing her, her voice soared throughout the arena. It was a moment that also showcased the two glorious sides of Kesha. While ‘Godzilla’ is a magnificent slice of indie-folk kitsch about dating a large dinosaur, ‘Bastards’ is a sweetly-delivered empowerment ballad aimed at everyone who underestimated her. Kesha’s sense of humour and attitude are still on full display, but she has a new confidence and self-assuredness too.

After three fabulous outfit changes and a night filled with strutting rock’n’roll, resplendent singalongs, and absolute empowerment, it was time for Kesha to leave the stage momentarily. And when she returned for her encore, the statement she made was one fans won’t be forgetting.

Joined by support act Ben Abraham on keys (who she worked with on the single), ‘Praying’ was the emotional high-point of the night. There had been a lot of moments throughout, but it was clear this four-minutes was Kesha’s moment and it will continue to be forevermore.

Finishing up with none other than her debut single ‘TiK ToK’, the crowd spent every last bit of energy and emotion they had left.

Kesha is an intergalactic goddess. She is powerful, liberated, and stronger than ever before. While her cheeky attitude still shone in all its glittering glory, watching Kesha onstage was awe-inspiring. Her early-career party anthems are still there, but that Kesha is no longer. Here stands a woman who is a shining beacon of bravery and strength, even in the face of defeat. And if you’re looking for someone to look up to, look no further.

Highlight: I am obsessed with rock’n’roll Kesha.
Lowlight: Was really hoping she’d play ‘This Is Me’.
Crowd Favourite: ‘Take It Off ’.

By Gloria Brancatisano