Missy Higgins
Enmore Theatre, May 7
Reviewed by Michael Bailey

"I think I was pregnant the last time I played this venue," mused Missy Higgins early in this show supporting the 34-year-old Melburnian's fifth album, Solastalgia.

Missy Higgins: the personal met the post-apocalyptic in a show where climate change loomed large.

Photo: Cybele Malinowski

"Release an album, release a baby. I promise I won't make a habit of it."
Indeed, the arrival of a son in 2015 and a daughter on the way has unsettled Higgins and her music.
For while this show started with the kind of interpersonal song for which she is best known, a solo piano meditation on All for Believing, we were soon submerged in new songs about climate change.
Far from the "lullabies about unicorns" Higgins told us she thought she'd be writing about, motherhood has alerted her to the fragility of the world.
"There's no room for more, no room to expand/Would you really give birth astride sinking sand?" she sang on Starting Again, her outstretched arms and impassioned delivery making it clear it's a question she still wrestles with.
Higgins had arranged for a protest against the proposed Adani coal mine to set up in the foyer, and there was some stridency in her new music, notably How Was I to Know? (Punchline: "I'd be a stepping stone/To the end?")
Best were the songs that merged the personal with the post-apocalyptic, such as the stunning Red Moon, a story of lovers separated by flood whose anguish was evoked with urgent backing vocals, or infectious new single Futon Couch. Judging by the sold-out crowd's reaction, it has a fair chance of replacing Scar as Higgins' calling card, even if "water spilling over land" interrupted its love letter to husband Dan Lee.
Higgins's three-girl, two-guy band was excellent, rocking out unexpectedly hard on Peachy and closer Steer, and lifting Everyone's Waiting to power-ballad nirvana.
Higgins, too, was in fine voice and fully invested, never more than on the one lullaby she has written, Song for Sammy.
A perfect distillation of the hopes and fears Higgins is feeling at this stage of her life – she even forgot the words and blamed "baby brain" – it will reduce many a parent to a blubbering mess should she ever record it.

Missy Higgins plays a second show at the Enmore Theatre tonight, Tuesday May 8.

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