A night with Fred again..

Sydney was abuzz earlier this month upon the announcement of Fred again..’s surprise arena tour, with the acclaimed producer booking a three-night run at Qudos Bank Arena from 12 March until 14 March 2024.

As the flagbearer of surprise concert announcements, Fred Again..’s Sydney tour was bound to cause fanfare, but our collective reaction exceeded even the loftiest of expectations. Social media feeds were overrun with the news, as Sydneysiders basked in a sense of communal passion for truly great music. 

Few artists engender that sense of community quite like Fred Again.., so it was little surprise that tickets to his Sydney shows essentially broke the internet. Going on sale a mere hours after the shows were announced, more than one million fans flocked to online waitlists, eager to snatch tickets to the world’s buzziest act.

Photo by Jordan Munns

Defying protocol with promotion-less announcements, Fred Again.. sold out his Qudos Bank Arena shows within two hours. But he’s not content at just leaving the fanfare at fever pitch. He wants to take his concert experience to the stratosphere — a feat that could only be undertaken at a venue like Qudos Bank Arena.  

It’s befitting of an artist with billions of streams to his name — but this time, something felt different. The world has caught on to Fred’s undeniable artistry, which is why those lucky enough to score tickets to the Qudos Bank Arena shows knew they were on the cusp of something monumental. 

As thousands of fans flocked to Sydney Olympic Park, Fred capitalised on the fanfare by delivering perhaps his most enrapturing performance to date. Joy (Anonymous) were there to ready audiences for the main event. The South London duo, composed of Henry Counsell and Louis Curran, played tracks from their fittingly titled album Cult Classics, churning out an array of dance floor heaters seemingly purpose-built for maximal hype. 

The duo masterfully set the stage for Fred, who was welcomed on stage with rapturous applause and an immediate standing ovation that stretched from the mosphit to the bleachers. In what would become a throughline for his performance, Fred opened with his 2021 track Kyle (i found you), an emotive slow burner about found family. 

Photo by Jordan Munns

The familial spirit of that song was the perfect accompaniment to the energy of the crowd, who almost immediately fell arm-in-arm as they sung along full-chested to lyrics like “I was outside my mind, but I found you.” For a lesser musician, it might’ve been difficult to sustain the sense of kindredness that emanated from the arena after that first song, as though each attendee had found each other in this shared space of fandom. 

But Fred ensured that communal spirit remained intact for the entire setlist, telling audiences after the opener that “coming back [to Qudos Bank Arena] today felt like a homecoming.” It was one of multiple references Fred made to Sydney as an integral part of his ascent. 

Later, during an atmospheric performance of the glittery smash hit Tate (how i feel), Fred informed audiences that he had been planning his Sydney comeback since last year, again fostering that same sense of community he engenders through the sheer force of his stage presence. There was an intimacy that coursed throughout his performance, as though Fred was warmly welcoming fans into his artistic space. 

He sat casually behind a piano to deliver many of his tracks live — from Bleu (better with time) to Danielle (smile on my face) — with handheld cams projecting his efforts across the arena. The effect, complete with Fred’s raw vocals, felt homely and personal — like an impromptu studio session in which fans were invited to observe an artist in real time. 

That sense of connectedness extended to the stage production. At various points throughout the show, the screens fluttered with video snippets of Fred’s family and loved ones, often played alongside his more emotional songs like Billie (loving arms). In these moments, Fred welcomed everyone into the intimate stories that inform his artistry, to the point where revellers might as well have been extensions of his own family.

Photo by Jordan Munns

Fred infused that spirit into his setlist, too. At one point, he recorded a snippet of the chanting crowd, using the euphoric soundbite as a looped introduction midway through his set. Few musicians are able to integrate the audience in such a meaningful way, essentially dissolving the bounds between himself and his fans. 

The barrier was altogether removed when Fred disappeared from the main stage and found his way to a small section in the middle of the mosh pit. It was a set-up suitable for a producer whose boiler room sessions have gone viral, and one that again saw him incorporating the crowd in unprecedented ways. 

For all its communal warmth — which came to include multiple shoutouts to his on-stage support Tony Friend — Fred’s show also held space for moments of pure, unadulterated ecstasy. During the climax of his set — a medley of his hardest-hitting bangers Rumble and Turn On the Lights again.. — a new kind of energy swept across the arena. 

Here, amid dazzling technical production that lit up revellers’ faces and the blare of Fred’s most danceable tunes, fans were able to detach for a moment and bask in the thunderous soundscape. It was a brief moment in which concertgoers could revel in Fred’s more out-of-body cuts, but it wasn’t long before he returned to the familial spirit that had become a tangible accompaniment to his set.  

Photo by Jordan Munns

After an energetic performance of his recent Baby Keem-assisted single leavemealone, Fred closed out his show with a smattering of his most emotional tracks. The producer shouted out Australia’s own Angie McMahon during Angie (i’ve been lost), before delivering the ultimate tearjerker with final track adore u. Like peace u need before it, the song begged attendees to sing-along, with the arena erupting in a heartfelt chorus of affect. 

“I let you take a piece of me,” they chanted in blissful unison, “I hope you get the peace you need.” As adore u faded into silence, fans exited Qudos Bank Arena with an unmistakable sense of connection, carried arm-in-arm by the same energy that buzzed in the air when Fred first announced the surprise shows. So infectious was that spirit that the tunes continued in Qudos Bank Arena’s grand foyer, where DJ Jordan Katz roped in an enormous crowd of departing revellers, each of whom were not ready to end the party just yet.   

It was a fitting closer for a show brimming with communal spirit; a feat that could only be achieved by Fred Again… Here is an artist whose enthusiasm for his craft is so infectious that even fans are invited into the process, and whose spirit of reciprocity creates an unmatched concert experience.