The Weekend Australian

Mauboy weak at the knees before night in spotlight

- ANDREW MCMILLEN NATIONAL MUSIC WRITER

Jessica Mauboy was all alone on Friday afternoon as she stood at the edge of Adelaide Oval, brilliant sunshine overhead, taking a few moments to appreciate the empty space and silence.

“I do better when I’m around people,” the chart-topping pop singer-songwriter said. “When I’m by myself, it gets really, really lonely, and way too quiet.”

Come Saturday night there’ll be no chance of that when Mauboy takes to the stage with her band to open Adelaide Festival.

Before a sold-out crowd of 5500 fans gathered in the stands and on the oval’s turf, it will be one of the biggest public gatherings held in South Australia since COVID restrictio­ns took effect almost 12 months ago.

After a star turn at the Fire Fight Australia fundraiser at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium this time last year — “one of the greatest highlights of my career” — Mauboy was robbed of the chance to play shows for most of 2020 due to the pandemic.

Her only other live date for the year was an appearance at Sydney’s Coliseum Theatre as part of November’s Great Southern Nights concert series, held in conjunctio­n with ARIA and the

NSW government. As a result of the extended downtime for herself, her band and her crew, Mauboy isn’t taking the opportunit­y to open the annual arts festival for granted.

“I’m really excited, to the point where my knees are shaking,” she said. “But there’s also a sense of really warm spirit, because this is what I love doing.

“I know that I’m a much better person when I’m on the stage, and I’m singing to faces who are singing the lyrics back to me. That’s my sweet spot.”

On Saturday, Mauboy will take over The Australian’s Instagram account to give readers an insider’s view of the Adelaide Festival and an exclusive insight into her preshow rituals as the clock ticks down to her 8pm performanc­e.

“It will be nice to showcase some of those things that people don’t see a lot from me,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to showing who I’m working with during the day.

“It definitely brightens my spirit when I’m fully connected with people on the ground. And maybe a vocal training session — who knows?”

Following Saturday night’s free opening concert, the festival will feature 70 events in theatre, music, opera, dance, film and visual arts through to March 14.

Print readers can use the QR code on this page to connect with our Instagram account (@the.australian) to follow Mauboy and her preparatio­ns through to showtime and beyond.

 ?? ROY VANDERVEGT ?? Singer Jessica Mauboy at the Adelaide Oval on Friday
ROY VANDERVEGT Singer Jessica Mauboy at the Adelaide Oval on Friday

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