One Word: Breathtaking

by Dana Pizzi

If I were to describe Sia’s Nostalgic For The Present Tour in one word it would be

~ Breathtaking ~

I had the pleasure of seeing Sia at the Barclay’s Center this past Tuesday and It was everything. The artistry and dancing was absolutely stunning and the minimalist stage design was just what this performance needed – it made a huge emotional impact and was overall a visual delight.

Before I go into detail I just want to name the amazing dancers that continued to take my breath away the whole night. They put so much emotion and feeling into every step and every facial expression and they felt the music on an extremely personal level which showed in their performance. That’s true artistry.

      Maddie Ziegler / Nick Lanzisera / Wyatt Rocker / Stephanie Mincone / Denna Thomsen  Ryan Heffington / Floris Bosveld

photo credit @maddieziegler instagram

I’ve been a fan of Sia for years, way before her hit song ‘Chandelier’. She has always been a quirky, mysterious and raw artist which is something I truly admire. I admire her not only for her artistry but I admire her as a person, someone who has felt so much pain in her life but overcame it and turned those feelings into something relatable and beautiful. My favorite artists are those who don’t strive for perfection but are there to share a story, to share their story and in result create beautiful art.

🎶    I found solace in the strangest place, way in the back of my mind   🎶

The show was a masterpiece starting off with “Alive”. The curtain came up and there is Sia, center stage in what looks like a big white ruffled skirt swaying back and forth and then out of the dress come the dancers with a spotlight on the extremely gifted, Maddie Ziegler (who danced her a** off during that song and the entire night). INCREDIBLE.

photo credit Paul Familetti from

Sia remained motionless for just about the entire show standing firmly behind her microphone stand in the left corner of the stage. The show’s purpose wasn’t to stare at Sia while she sang but to listen to her powerful vocals narrate the beautiful piece of art that was unfolding before our eyes. She was telling her story and that’s what made this show so special.


As her second song, Sia performed “Diamonds”, the song made famous by Rihanna, but after hearing Sia sing this live it’s hard to remember that any other version of it exists.

I still can’t get over her live vocals, they were impeccable. The entire night I felt like I was being transcended into some wonderful musical land. The performance was executed with such pristine detail and as the story unfolded on stage there was a beautifully done pre-recorded film playing on the screens perfectly synched up with the dancing (I’m prayin’ for a DVD people, prayin’).

Though most of these dances were new to me, there were the songs like “Big Girls Cry” which were reenactments of their music videos. “Big Girls Cry” is a powerful song with such powerful vocals. It’s a reminder that it’s okay to feel so many emotions and express them. You can be a tough, strong and independent woman and still cry. We are human and we all feel pain in one way or another…sometimes you just need a good solid sob.


🎶   Tough girl, whose soul aches  🎶

The next song was probably my top 2 of the night, “Bird Set Free”. It wasn’t just a performance, it was a story of a tortured and struggling businessman. From the way the performance played out it seems like he is unhappy with his life, feeling trapped and depressed due to the fact that he goes through the same routine day in and day out. It was an absolutely stunning performance.

But there’s a scream inside that we all try to hide
🎶     We hold on so tight, we cannot deny   🎶   
Eats us alive, oh it eats us alive

A few songs later comes “Soon You’ll Be Found” an older Sia song circa 2008. This was probably my favorite performance of the night. I have always loved this song, the choreography and art direction of the piece was so fascinating and beautiful – I was completely mesmerized. [I didn’t get my own video of this song cause I was living in the moment – but here is a video that I found from one of the stops on her tour]

Let’s not fight I’m tired can’t we just sleep tonight
🎶    Don’t turn away it’s just there’s nothing left here to say  🎶   
Turn around I know we’re lost but soon we’ll be found

BUT..I did get a clip of one of the next songs “Elastic Heart” on my instagram! Ugh so beautiful 

Later on came “Breathe Me”, another one of my absolute favorite Sia songs (okay, let’s be honest at this point…they are all my favorite.) This one had me in tears, lot’s of tears – see I told you BIG GIRLS CRY! This song was there for me at times in my life when I didn’t have the words to put together what I was feeling. I think “Breathe Me” is a song extremely relatable to anyone going through depression or living with a mental illness. Sia was able to capture those emotions and take all that pain and turn it into something so stunning and powerful yet so delicate and real.

Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
🎶    Yeah, I think that I might break   🎶  
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe

Sia’s set was pretty short and went by faster then I would have liked. I could have watched those performances replay for hours. Though by that time I probably would have drowned in a puddle of my own tears. But anyway, she ended with “Chandelier” and her newest song “The Greatest” – both performances were stunning and both resembled their original music videos (which I hyperlinked with the titles for your own personal enjoyment :)).

Some of these performances were hard to follow but I don’t think they were intended to be picked apart and analyzed, I think they are stories in which each audience member interprets in their own way based on their own personal experiences. I mean how can one explain two people standing with big panda bear heads on and getting knocked over with an oversized plush hammer? (Yes, this did happen during the song “Titanium”).


Overall, this was one of the most unique and beautiful shows I have ever had the pleasure of attending. So a big thank you to ALL of the fabulous performers, the production team, the creative team and of course….SIA ❤ Thank you for creating beautiful, raw, emotional music.

photo credit @siathisisacting instagram


Here are some of my blurry little photos from the show 🙂

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