We walked into the Sydney Opera House not knowing what to expect from the highly talked about theatrical act from Karen O. We had read such things as “the most epic musical theatre event in decades”, and we anticipated something extremely left of field.
Well…we weren’t disappointed.
We looked out to the stunning view from the Sydney Opera House, as the lights danced across Sydney Harbour during Vivid Sydney. The city had come alive as a creative hub, with artists from around the world vowing to be apart of this unique festival. Vivid Live is a series of musical acts that takes place in the weeks of Vivid Sydney and Karen O is one of the few artists that were playing at the Sydney Opera House. We washed down the remainder of our cheese platter with red wine and reminded ourselves to be open-minded when viewing shows of this nature.
We wandered to our seats and we were surprised to see that we are seated much closer to the stage than expected and delighted with our prime position to view the show. My bum hit the seat and I noticed a presence to the left of me, you know the one, when someone is invading your personal space. I slowly turned to my left and before turning all the way round there was something very odd about the person who was so up in my grill.
I recoiled with shock as I realised that the lady next to me was now standing on the seat and seemed to be wavering in a transformative manner. It was as though she was possessed and pulsing in all different directions. I gazed around the theatre to notice that the crowd was filled with these white ghosts and they were wreaking havoc for audience members as they attempted to seat themselves.
It was on! Karen O had already gained our attention and we instantly entertained with watching these unusual figures in the crowd and monitoring the audience reactions as they were confronted with these unworldly beings. This set the tune for the nights performance and what a way to grab our attention right from the beginning.
On stage walked two awkwardly looking, nun type characters handing out flyers to audience members as they sat waiting for the performance. They seem to float around the stage effortlessly as they placed pink sheets of paper into the hands of everyone that passed them. Scribed on the leaflet read… “The Speed Tastes So Sweet”. Elise and I looked at each other not knowing what to expect and our anticipation grew for what weird and unusual things we were going to be viewing that night.
The show began with the shrewd screams from the white beings in the audience. They all began screaming at once as though in pain, with a look of desperation on their faces as they walked in unison down to the stage. We were then finally graced with Karen O on stage in an elaborate dress and seemed to be being born into the world as many other artist convulsed on the stage to the beat of the music.
We then followed the journey of ones life, not knowing if it was Karen O’s life but we followed the roller coaster all the same. The madness of each music track indulged our senses. There were moments where I just didn’t know where to look, as there was so much going happening on stage. 50 members on stage, at one point Karen O was wearing a lobster claw, a full band and orchestra. We are still not sure if we were watching a musical interpretation of life, but we were watching it all the same as if taking LSD.
The culmination of the whole performance was when the white bodied humans walked to the nuns and seemed to be getting their fix-much like holy communion in the Catholic Church-about 5 minutes later, all the figures began to convulse and blood poured out of their mouths and they began to die all over the stage. Finally, Karen O in a huge ethereal costume, raised on a platform, repeated the same song from the beginning of the performance and the white bodies, began to be ‘reborn’ and rise again.
One of the most catchy songs however, was that which was written onto the pink sheets, ‘The Speed Tastes So Sweet’. Elise and I were singing it all the way home and danced like possessed zombies down the street along circular key!
Vivid Sydney really brings out the best in artists and allows a platform where experimentation is encouraged. The Karen O show has been 7 years in the making and we were delighted to have been a apart of the mayhem on stage. It was a visual and audible splendor and if the opportunity arises that she will tour again, we would highly recommend it.