Selling out three Zoo Twilights shows, Missy Higgins proved why she’s a national treasure

Selling out three Zoo Twilights shows, Missy Higgins proved why she’s a national treasure

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Words by Luke Carlino
Pics by Nick Tamiakis

This was special.

How much time and thought do you give to the poor Mountain Pygmy-possum? Probably not a lot, right? Well luckily, these critically-extinct little possums, which hang out in dense alpine rock screes and boulder fields of southern Victoria, have a fighting chance now thanks to one, Missy Higgins.

The Zoo Twilights concert series runs throughout the summer with all proceeds going towards the zoo’s conservation work, with the Mountain Pygmy-possum on top of the ‘to-save’ list this year. With a range of acts having played and to play as part of the summer series, it’s Melbourne’s own Missy Higgins who managed to sell-out a massive three nights in a row, pulling in just over 9000 gourmet picnic loving punters over the three nights (excluding the animal residents of the zoo who may or may not be Higgins fans).

The Saturday night show began with a set from William Crighton, who performed mainly solo renditions of tracks from his second record Empire, backed with a second vocalist/percussionist. His delivery and guitar tone toggled the line of uncomfortably harsh in the most fitting way as he played his poetic, almost psychedelic ballads.

The last we heard from Higgins was her 2018 LP Solastalgia, and her more recent The Special Ones best-of record. Opening the set with a solo rendition of ‘Nightminds’, plenty of time was dedicated early on to her hugely popular debut, The Sound Of White. Quickly joined by her incredibly talented band, Missy performed in true singer-songwriter fashion, sharing in-depth stories about song meanings and subject matter between cuts.

A beautiful cover of The Angels ‘No Secrets’ which can be found on Higgins’ first covers record OZ was followed by 2018’s electro-pop drenched single ‘Futon Couch’. The track, written about the time Higgins first met her now-husband, was coupled with the solo ukulele track ‘Song For Sammy’, written about the singer’s son. Family was a hot topic for Higgins on the night as she recalled many stories that have influenced her songs from close to home, even bringing her brother and sister on stage to help sing the set’s closing track, super-hit ‘Scar’.

While the concept of a zoo is a hotly-debated topic among animal lovers, it’s hard to argue with such a well-intentioned event that raises significant dollars to keep an important local species on the planet. The Zoo Twilights concert series is a fantastic night out, delivering exceptional artists and performances while raising some much-needed dollars for our homegrown furry friends – try and catch at least one of the shows before the season closes in March.

Highlight: The cover of The Angels ‘No Secrets’.

Lowlight: The fact that Mountain Pygmy-possums are nearly extinct.

Crowd favourite: Big track ‘Scar’ which turned the picnic area into a dancefloor.