The Melbourne Festival is officially underway, and Taylor Mac leads the charge (Performances until October 20th)

It’s astonishing to think about how much music has filled our ears and hearts over the years; and I don’t just mean the years we’ve been alive. I’m talking from day one, when Earth was created. Think about the genre discoveries, the melodies, the development of instruments, idols both past and present. Imagine, what it was like and what it meant to be a music lover back in the 17 and 1800s when I can’t even hum a melody of that time! Well, fear not for you are about to be educated in the best and most uplifting kind of way.

Taylor Mac is a one-of-a-kind performer who is truly gifting the world with his love of music. In a work that explores 24 decades of popular music in America, you will be part of an immersive experience like no other that takes performance art to new heights. A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is a four chapter epic exploration into the history of music dating back to 1776 right up to present day. Each chapter runs for six incredible hours with cultural appropriation at the forefront. One thing which Mac said in his Inauguration performance was, “I’m not a teacher. I’m a reminder.” While he may not consider himself a teacher, he certainly has a way of broadening your thinking, and holding yourself accountable to certain belief and value systems.

Glittered head to toe in extravagant, colourful costumes, and a pair of platform stilettos any woman would collapse under, is an artist who breaks boundaries to create one of the most engaging original works that Australia has ever seen. Mac is a very clever person with such an enormous amount of freedom in his performance. This historical musical exploration is an extension of Mac’s being and the reason why no other human on Earth could come close to executing it the way he does. It’s personal, it’s warm – it’s Taylor Mac. Vocally, there are no flaws to Mac’s tone or musical reinterpretations, but amazingly, this work is not just about how well he can sing. Mac’s voice has a purpose and with that power of purpose comes great responsibility.

Connecting with the audience on a personal level and encouraging interaction is nothing new to theatre, but again, Mac reinvents the norm. Each moment of audience participation has a significant intention, whether it be to have fun and dance, to pass judgement, or to break down insecurities you never thought you had. Apart from going back in time and learning about music’s evolution, I think the purpose of this incredible work is to open your eyes up to what has become the conventional norm, and reassess your viewpoint. The power of music is undeniable and at the core, Mac has found a way for every song to hold a valuable place in the 21st century.

For tickets to A 24-Decade History of Popular Music and more info, head here.

The reviewer attended The Inauguration on Thursday October 5th.