Rita Ora's first-ever Melbourne show had its mishaps but still delivered on epic proportions

The bonafide star roared through the Palais with a showstopping set.

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Image source: 
Tasha Strachan

In celebration of her sophomore album, Phoenix, British pop singer Rita Ora graced St Kilda's Palais to kick off her world tour. With over six years since her debut album release, Ora’s first Australian headline shows had been highly anticipated. The soaring temperatures over the weekend saw crowds lingering from a day at the beach to a night out in St Kilda’s local bars, soaking up the warm night air. Comparatively, fans sweltered inside the steamy venue before the show had even begun. A kind word to the Palais – please install a better air conditioner. Thank you.

As the lights went down and Ora’s band stormed the stage, the Palais went wild. Dramatic music and smoke machines welcomed the main attraction, Rita Ora. Without missing a beat, one of Phoenix's biggest tracks, ‘For You’ played out. Ordinarily, Palais crowds take a few songs to get out of their seats, but for Ora, there was no hesitation. The pop princess blitzed through hits, ‘Your Song’, ‘Doing It’ and ‘Let You Love Me’. She introduced ‘Let You Love Me’ with an invitation to the crowd to singalong, yet almost every person in the crowd sang the wrong part, as an amused Ora continued to sing over the wrong lyrics. Some fans were able to redeem themselves, paying homage to Ora's heritage by holding Albanian flags, to which the pop star responded by making love hearts with her hands. Usually, it’d be a bit cringe, but for Rita Ora – we’ll allow it. 

With a long list of notable collaborations under her belt, it’s easy to forget all the big songs Ora has been a part of, not to mention her mass amount of singles dating back to ‘How We Do (Party)’ in 2012. Weaving through favourites ‘Girls’, ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Hot Right Now’, Ora also played newer tracks, including live debuts of ‘New Look’ and ‘Keep Talking’.

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A post shared by RITA ORA (@ritaora) on Mar 1, 2019 at 3:57pm PST

This point in the show is what usually separates the Stans from the regular fans. Fans knew the popular radio hits, while the Stans knew every word to Phoenix’s tracklist and sang it intensely. Ora was constantly overwhelmed by the crowd's love and support, “You guys are fucking fun” she exclaimed, shining the spotlight on individuals in the crowd, and constantly paying extra attention to audience members all the way up the back.

However, the opening night did not go without its mishaps. Ora smiled and apologised for the few technical difficulties scattered through the show, yet, tech problems aside, I craved something more from her performance. Ora often left the stage during lengthy interludes, which could have opened the perfect opportunity to shock audiences with a costume change. Alas, she would return on stage in the same outfit, making us wonder what was the point in that? Additionally, some choreography with her two talented and equally stunning singers would have made for a tighter, more entertaining show. Although, her dorky dancing served as reminder for how relatable she is, strengthened further by her heartfelt ramblings where she would lose her train of thought mid-sentence, abandoning her story completely.

Ora wrapped up the show with a tribute to Avicii, performing their song, ‘Lonely Together’, before finally concluding with ‘Anywhere’. Usually, Australia is last on an international artists’ tour agenda and by the time it reaches us Down Under, it is a well-oiled machine so I think we can allow Ora a few missteps on her opening night and hope that by the next time she comes to Australia, we’ll see her show as flawless as it was intended. Here’s hoping fans won’t be waiting six years this time.

Highlight: Palais’ seating not ruining the dancing vibe. Nice try Palais.

Lowlight: Teasing an outfit change but not following through – give us some theatrics Rita.

Crowd Favourite: ‘For You’.