Live Review: JJ Lin ‘Sanctuary’ – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne (08.03.19)

JJ Lin’s Sanctuary World Tour, the theme is to provide a sanctuary away from the noise and clutter of daily lives and connect with his audience through music. 

And that is exactly what he achieved that night!

The Melbourne leg that took place on Monday 11th March at Rod Laver Arena was the grand finale to Sanctuary 1.0 World Tour after 36 shows performed worldwide.

More than ten thousand fans gather into arena creating an ocean of purple lights matching beautiful teal purple stage, somewhat mimicking a nest. Lights flash on, the nest drops down and JJ Lin takes the stage cocooned up. Despite hanging upside down, JJ showcases his amazing vocals through ‘A Thousand Years Later’ whilst being spun 360 degrees several times. Towards the end, he frees himself and opens his wings with the climax of the song. 

The crowd goes wild as he lands on stage and follows with a series of hit tracks such as ‘Brave New World’ ‘Sanctuary’ ‘The Dark Knight’ ‘West Side’ and ‘The Key’. A truly breathtaking sight with stunning visual effects and stage set up. 

A quick outfit change and JJ is back to showcase his dance skills through ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘The Killa’. Followed by the start of the mass singalong marathon, with fans not missing a word of ‘If Only’ and ‘Back To Back’ 

The atmosphere becomes romantic with JJ serenading the crowd with his piano and all so popular tracks: ‘She Says’ and ‘Remember’. But one of the louder screams of the nights comes when the first few notes from ‘Tales of the Red Cliff’, a song from 2008, but skyrocketed in popularity in 2018 was played. 

There was not many talking segments throughout the night, but one of my favourite parts was when JJ asked why the crowd all spoke Chinese despite being all the way in Australia. He then continues to ask if the crowd understood english. Followed by asking, “can you speak English? Can you sing English? Cause Sydney couldn’t sing English”, hilariously throwing shade to his show from two nights ago. Funnily enough, the Melbourne crowd also failed to singalong to JJ’s performance of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s ‘Shallow’, causing him to have a cheeky grin when the crowd begins to mumble through the chorus. 

‘Practice Love’ was another one of those bigger singalong moments of the nights, hearing ten thousand people echo throughout the arena. 

One of my absolute favourite stages of the night was ‘Paper Clouds’! The lighthearted and upbeat track accompanied by a beautiful sky setting, which contrasts amazingly well with JJ who was in a red jumpsuit. This was also the only song our Walking CD messed up on and ended up forgetting a line. He explained that the song starts off slow, but picks up in speed by the second half. JJ embarrassingly confesses that he was busy counting the beat in his head, and complains about not being able to multitask, causing him to forget his lyrics. 

Picking up his guitar, JJ split the arena into two halves, calling one side koalas and one side kangaroos. Making each half sing parts of ‘Dimples’ and compete to see who was louder. He followed by making fun of the crowd, saying that they will fail to follow along to the next song, his personal favourite ‘Eagle’s Eye’

The concert reach its peak when JJ asked the crowd to stand and the arena began to feel like a rave with ‘High Fashion’ and ‘You N Me’. He thanked his staff, fans and sponsors and took a bow and left the stage.

Of course, Melbourne wouldn’t easily let him go like that, so the chant for encore began and JJ returned with his latest song ‘Resurgence’ and debut song ‘River South’. He ends up jumping off stage for the final song of the night, ‘Twilight’ and gets up close to fans before finally returning back up to the stage and taking one last bow. 

Sanctuary, definitely lives up to its name, providing such a great environment to sing all your stress away. An arena as big as Rod Laver filled up, all united to sing and chant along. Everyone knowing the words whenever JJ pointed his microphone to the crowd is honestly a breathtaking experience. 

The concert didn’t feel like others, which are usually focused on the artist themselves and what they have to offer. Instead Sanctuary felt like a safe haven for all to gather, sing together, sway together and share their love for the same person, same music, same purpose. It was truly an escape from reality, a healing experience and I came out feeling nothing but joy and positiviity. 

JJ Lin, thank you for such an amazing night! Looking forward to the next time you’re back on Aussie ground. 

Photos credit to Chinatown Cinema, JFJ Productions, and JJ Lin.