Midway through country-pop queen Kacey Musgraves’ sold-out show at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre last night, a call rang out from the surprisingly rowdy crowd: “Do a shoey!”
That lone voice grew into a chorus, as the audience cheered for Musgraves — 2019 Grammy Album of the Year winner, recent Met Gala show-stealer — to skol a beer from the man’s shoe. Or from one of her band member’s shoes. Or, hell, even her own platformer heel.
Her response proved you best not mess with Texas: “That’s disgusting. I’m not f**king drinking out of your shoe.” And on with the show.
The awkward moment caused quite the cultural cringe for some in the audience:
don’t you dare think you can demand kacey musgraves to do a shoey!!! that behaviour is tacky and not cute at the same time 👺
Calling the cops on everyone cheering for Kacey Musgraves to do a shoey
I thought kacey musgraves was a shoey free safe space... I was wrong
Kacey Musgraves refusing a shoey because obviously she is doing that and doing a shoey is the dumbest thing
Perhaps you could forgive that audience member’s misplaced enthusiasm: A whole lot’s changed for Musgraves since she last toured Australia in 2015. It’s all thanks to her incredible fourth album, 2018’s Golden Hour, which she’s performing in full — all 13 songs — on this Oh What A World tour.
That rapturously received record catapulted her from country darling to mainstream star, and from the first lines of concert opener Slow Burn, she’s met with the sort of hysterical screams usually reserved for Korean boy bands. Her fans — decked out with a mix of cowboy hats, glitter and rainbow flags — bellow every word, of every song, back at her.
On stage, the 30-year-old star looks like the impossibly glam love child of 1970s Cher and Dolly Parton, resplendent in a floral polyester flared pants suit (that she will later admit does not breathe at all under the stage lights). Her six-strong backing band, decked out in matching lounge suits, complete the Grand Ole Opry fantasy.
She treats fans to a smattering of older material — early single (and queer anthem) Follow Your Arrow gets a particularly huge cheer — but Golden Hour’s the real focus here. Instant classic singles like Space Cowboy and Butterflies are delivered faithfully, but there’s room for a few surprises too: The philosophical Oh What A World is somehow even better stripped of its Daft Punk-lite production, becoming one of the night’s most intimate moments.
Musgraves finishes with the disco-pop kiss-off High Horse, doing her best to dodge a bunch of wigs hurled onto stage as an apparent sign of appreciation (wigs? shoeys? — come on Sydney).
Earlier, she admitted she still felt “low energy” after a 20-hour flight and revealed she was battling a genuine phobia of Australian wildlife, particularly cassowaries and huntsman spiders.
Lets hope that shoey hasn’t scared her off for good.
Kacey Musgraves’ tour continues at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre on May 14 and Auckland Town Hall on May 17. More info at Chugg Entertainment.