At Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the elusive singer-songwriter stunned without any improvisation (or mistakes).
How does a pop artist electrify a sold-out arena while remaining motionless and obscuring her face? Sia’s been answering that question all year, with a combination of artful distractions and vocal command, and on Tuesday night (Oct. 25), the showcase that has dazzled Coachella, Panorama and huge venues across the country in 2016 elicited the same frenzied response from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. There was no stage banter, false movements or deviations from the well-worn setlist; Sia’s current show is painstakingly manicured. But if each pre-planned detail is breathtaking, who cares if it’s pre-planned?
For those who have yet to experience Sia’s show, it’s not really a Sia show at all, but an avant-garde dance production, starring “Chandelier” breakout dancer/actress Maddie Ziegler and soundtracked by the Australian singer-songwriter’s sweeping tunes. Ziegler possesses an astounding control of her physicality, leading her fellow dancers in matching the pre-taped performances that roll alongside the show (and feature actors like Kristen Wiig and Paul Dano, who are not in attendance for the tour) and synching with the choreography, leap-for-leap. Having watched Sia’s same show sans Ziegler at Coachella in April, Maddie’s presence adds a mischievous energy, as if replicated movements can’t capture the heart behind those wide eyes and deranged smiles. The set pieces would fall apart without her persuasion, which is why the weaker moments of the show often came when she was offstage.