After debuting last year with a program of 150 artists including Dua Lipa and Nick Cave, Victoria’s enormous gig series Always Live is back with another whopper of a line-up.
The 2023 program was announced today, with more than 165 artists performing across 60-plus events – taking place statewide, from Brunswick to Ballarat, Wodonga to Warrnambool – including stadium shows, one-off gigs and intimate performances. It’ll span 17 days, from November 24 to December 10.
The series kicks off with a one-night-only show by pop icon Christina Aguilera. The open-air concert – at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday November 25 – will be the singer’s first time performing in Australia in 15 years and marks the 20th anniversary of her album Stripped, which produced the hits Dirrty, Beautiful and Fighter. It’s a safe bet you’ll also hear the classics Genie in a Bottle and What a Girl Wants.
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Other highlights include UK superstar Jessie Ware, who’ll headline LGBTQI+ outdoor music festival Summer Camp, alongside drag superstar and Ru Paul alumnus Trixie Mattel. Ware will also perform an exclusive and intimate show for 120 people at Federation Square, presented by Summer Camp Festival in partnership with Victoria by Farmers Daughters. It’ll include a Q&A with ABC’s Virginia Trioli, plus cocktails, wine and food.
In two major coups: Swedish DJ and producer Eric Prydz will bring the stunning sets and 3D visuals of his internationally acclaimed Holo show to Melbourne, and enigmatic British songwriter and producer Jai Paul (who rose to underground fame with his hit demo BTSTU) will perform a rare run of Melbourne-only shows at 170 Russell. And US alt-pop auteur Caroline Polachek will back up her Meredith slot with a show at the Forum Theatre, performing her acclaimed new album Desire, I Want To Turn Into You.
Meanwhile, Hamer Hall will host Blaktivism, a night curated and headlined by Australian Music Prize-winners King Stingray, featuring a collaborative set by First Nations artists Tasman Keith, Emma Donovan, Uncle Bart Willoughby, Deline Briscoe and more. And legendary American soul singer Lee Fields will be joined by Surprise Chef for Soul Trains, a tour across four different venues along four different Metro train lines.
If you missed out on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour tickets, this might be the next best thing: a tribute show by top Aussie performers including Alex the Astronaut, Charley, Clare Bowditch, Emily Wurramara, Kate Miller-Heidke, Lisa Mitchell and Sophia J Smith will be held at Northcote Theatre, hosted by Em Rusciano and Clementine Ford.
There’s also a huge number of regional shows, including the Tones and I-curated Music in the Park at Mornington, featuring the Cat Empire, the Veronicas, Budjerah, KAIIT and the Pierce Brothers; a show by hip-hop duo AB Original in MC Briggs’s hometown of Shepparton; and Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett debuting new music with his band the Alter Egos (featuring fellow Midnight Oil member Martin Rotsey) in Wangaratta.