Stephen Sanchez: Angel Face 2024 Tour, Forum Melbourne, Melbourne, April 30th 2024 – Live Music

There must be something about Stephen Sanchez.

Playing in Australia as part of his Angel Face 2024 Tour with his band The Moon Crests, Sanchez visited Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, before ending his sold-out Australian tour in our live music capital – Melbourne. Performing over two dates at the iconic Forum Melbourne venue, I had the honour of witnessing the first of Stephen Sanchez’s two 2024 Melbourne shows.

Despite being Sanchez’s second Australian tour less than 12 months after his initial one, the Angel Face 2024 Tour was my first time seeing Stephen Sanchez live.

Deeply influenced by music from the 1950s and 60s including the likes of Elvis Presley, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Bobby Darin, Roy Orbison, The Platters, Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye, and Nat King Cole, Stephen Sanchez is a talented magic man with the uncanny ability to transport you back in time, all without you ever having to leave the dance floor.

Sanchez’s music is retro fuelled, nostalgia filled, and vocally exquisite. Although heavily influenced by the classics, Sanchez’s smooth and powerful vocals, as well as his eye-popping vocal range, has its own unique sound.

If you think he already sounds amazing on his records, hearing Stephen Sanchez perform live is an out of body experience.

Never have I ever heard an entire sold-out venue hush each other, collectively wanting to lap up every single note that Sanchez would hit. The Forum Melbourne venue was so quiet, the loudest folk disrupting the peace were only the staff at the bars with the chimes of their glasses. Attentive and hanging with bated breath, the respectful Melbourne audience only sung along to Sanchez when he encouraged them to do so during his songs ‘Evangeline’, ‘High’ and ‘Until I Found You’.

I found myself doing the iconic Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons hand choreography while swaying from side to side during Stephen’s original song ‘I Need You Most Of All’ and adored it when he paid tribute to one of his music heroes Roy Orbison by performing a cover of ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ which had everyone dancing. Other upbeat numbers of the set included ‘Only Girl’ and ‘Shake’ which had Sanchez sliding from one side of the stage to the other like a rock star. The song itself a glorious and inspired fusion of Bobby Darin and Elvis Presley.

During the slower tunes, the Forum Melbourne venue was held in a quiet awe while Stephen Sanchez serenaded us with beautiful ballads such as my personal favourite ‘Be More’ and the endearing ‘Fame and Fortune’, the latter of which Sanchez performed alone on stage while on the acoustic guitar. Sanchez showcased his gorgeous falsetto, but not before gleefully sharing that the song was inspired by meeting and falling in love with his Australian girlfriend during his last tour visit.

Upon hearing this, I instantly connected the dots on exactly why Sanchez warmly shared on his social media that Australia is his favourite country on the planet. After going back and forth to visit his beloved significant other and selling out a second Australian tour, Australia is practically his second home.

When Sanchez interacted with the Melbourne crowd, it felt warm, humble, genuine, bashful even. The down-to-earth singer-songwriter shared that he didn’t feel famous, yet his talents are undeniable and deserve an audience. I can’t even imagine him doing anything else with his life other than making great music. Seeing the joyful and clear mutual exchange of love in the room, despite being slightly sleep deprived by flying from Sydney to Melbourne at 6am that very morning, Sanchez was in his element and having the time of his life up on the Forum Melbourne stage.

The most impressive moments of the night were when Sanchez hit incredible high notes during his songs ‘The Other Side’ and ‘Doesn’t Do Me Any Good’, and I found myself mouthing the words “Wow.” while I, as well as the rest of the lucky Melbourne audience, witnessed Sanchez’s insane vocal range stun the room into silence, his wonderful vocals soaring through the air and reaching every corner of the Forum Melbourne venue with ease.

My favourite part of the concert though, was when Stephen Sanchez sung an acapella version of Doris Day’s ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me’ after being infatuated by the Forum Melbourne ceiling, which for those who haven’t visited, looks like a gorgeous night sky full of stars. This in turn had Sanchez trying to mimic Chris Martin’s tone which sounded more like Cher when trying to sing Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’. this moment was hilarious and adorable.

Just as quickly as the concert began, it was over too soon. After Stephen happily collected gifts including Australian animal plushies and a packet of Tim Tams which he shared he would devour in an Aussie ‘Tim Tam Slam’, Sanchez graciously thanked the Melbourne audience and cheered the “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, oi, oi!” chant with them before disappearing off stage completely. As much as I was satisfied, I wished the set was longer and still wanted more. I have no doubt that generations to come will be familiar with his name, but in the interim I look forward to longer sets, bigger venues, possibly a horn section, and newer music. Stephen Sanchez is just getting started and I truly believe that the best is yet to come.

I’m certain that he will be back, especially after learning of his special Australian connections! In the meantime, I highly recommend listing to Stephen Sanchez’s ‘Angel Face (Club Deluxe)’ release which I’ve been listening to on repeat since I left his concert.

There’s just something about Stephen Sanchez. Stephen Sanchez is not a man misplaced in time. Instead, this passionate, humble, likable and super talented human carries the torch in keeping the retro sound alive both in his music and in his heart.

Stephen Sanchez performed with The Moon Crests in Melbourne at Forum Melbourne on Tuesday April 30th and Wednesday May 1st as part of his Angel Face 2024 Tour. The first date was attended for the purpose of this review and the Melbourne leg was the final leg of his Australian Angel Face 2024 Tour.

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Photography by Grant Alexander.

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