Live music is magical and often I struggle to find the words to describe the magnitude of the moments I experience in concert venues. My experience seeing Dua Lipa live for the first-time fits into this category, and still feels surreal to this day.
On July 13th, 2016, I witnessed a star being born. There’s no other way to describe the night.
Dua Lipa was a powerhouse from the second she stepped foot on stage, dancing and singing her heart out, until her voice was raspy as she fare welled us goodbye. The room Dua performed in was tiny, holding a capacity of approximately 100. The venue was Newtown Social Club, and unfortunately, closed a couple of years ago. I miss it and feel an immense amount of reverence towards it. It’s because of Newtown Social Club that I was able to see Dua Lipa, a now 3x Grammy award winning artist, break into the Australian music landscape. And guess how much my ticket cost. Only $40. Insanity. I still have the ticket and consider framing it every time I lay eyes on it.
With only approx. 100 people in the room, the whole gig felt intimate. There was an incredible awareness that we were the lucky few. We were seeing Dua perform live for the first time in Sydney, Australia. Little did we know, although we hoped, that it would not be the last.
At the time, “Be The One” and “Hotter Than Hell” were being added to radio rotations, slowly climbing their way up the Australian music charts. During the concert, Dua played these hits to a crowd so enthusiastic, the motion of our dancing and jumping made the floor beneath us shake. The energy was electric and our appreciation for Dua’s artistry evident, as she treated us to performances of unreleased tracks. Songs like “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” and “Thinking ‘Bout You” that in the years to follow would take the world by storm and be featured on her self-titled album. Rarely am I fortunate enough to see an international artist perform before they’ve even released their debut album, but let me tell you, it’s one of the most incredible experiences. It intensifies the attachment you have to the artist and their music. It feels like an honour.
It may sound silly, but the experience made me proud. Proud to seemingly have great judgement and a finger on the pulse of the music industry. Proud to identify a superstar before the world knew her name. Proud to see Dua Lipa in such an intimate setting, in the humblest beginnings, before growing into a global sensation and touring arenas around the world. Proud of Dua’s talent, success, and passion.
In 2018, I was fortunate enough to meet Dua and see her live another two times – one in a setting even more intimate than the first, in a room of about 20 – and secondly, at Luna Park’s Big Top, to one of the biggest crowds she’s played to date in Australia.
But hey, they’re stories for another time…and I can’t wait to share them here on Lovers of Live.