Tim and Faith excite Sydneysiders

Breath-taking: Faith Hill live at Allphones Arena in Sydney on Tuesday night.
Breath-taking: Faith Hill live at Allphones Arena in Sydney on Tuesday night.

After what seemed like an eternity from the point of its announcement last year - inevitable when anticipation is high - American country music royalty, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, finally made their way to Sydney's Allphones Arena last night [Tuesday, March 27].

The last date on their sold-out tour of the country, which also included a headline gig at the annual CMC Rocks the Hunter festival in The Hunter Valley earlier this month, what they delivered was nothing short of breath-taking.

Performing both solo and as duet partners, the husband and wife team, schooled Sydneysiders on the meaning of class entertainment.

Faith was the first to walk the stage - a treat for the many who had been awaiting the moment for years.

Greeted with collective crowd ecstasy, Faith launched into a set of favourites and several new songs from her forthcoming album with track Mississippi Girl.

Backed by a note-perfect 8-piece band, she then moved through This Kiss and The Way You Love Me, before unleashing the first of the new tracks, 600 Years.

A vision in black, Faith's vocal delivery was a rare treat for the Sydney audience.

Set highlights were a constant, but it was during the epic Breathe that things really ignited ... hairs raised on the arms of this reviewer.

Long time fans were most certainly rewarded via renditions of Faith's first single, Wild One, and a prog-heavy Piece Of My Heart - certainly more rock than traditional country.

Faith's time on stage seemed to pass in minutes, despite it actually being around an hour.

Serving as the perfect segue to Tim taking over, Faith launched into the duet, Like We Never Loved At All. Needless to say, Tim's appearance from back of stage prompted many an eager cheer.

Much like Faith, Tim treated the audience to a ''best of'' journey throughout his 20-something year career and no stone was left unturned, from his first number one, Don't Take The Girl, to tracks from his current release, Emotional Traffic.

Playful and keen to slap hands with those at the front of stage, Tim was in his element throughout and seemed genuinely lost in the moment on numerous occasions.

Standouts included set standards, I Like It I Love It, Southern Voice, Real Good Man, Everywhere and Indian Outlaw.

While each were flawless renditions, Tim saved the best for last, the mezmerising Live Like You Were Dying.

There is something about the track that absolutely inspires - as an audience member, you find yourself completely immersed in the lyric and the importance of the message.

As expected, Tim's set was rounded out by a return of Faith, first serving as backing vocalist on Shotgun Rider and One Part Two Part, and then sharing the spotlight for another of the real centrepoints of the evening - It's Your Love.

There is something completely addictive about watching this pair churn out a hearty ballad - as trite as it sounds, you can literally feel the love falling from the stage.

It's Your Love was such a moment - pure class.

After spending a combined two hours on stage the pair said their farewells before returning for an encore with a difference.

Unaccompanied, except for the sound of a guitar, Tim and Faith sat at front of stage, either side a two-way microphone, to present the delicate duet I Need You.

It was one of those moments where the cynical would scream ''rehearsed'' or ''contrived'' but where the believers, or those close enough to feel the electricity of the two, would allow themselves to be completely swept away.

It was a truly beautiful way to end a remarkable event and triumphant tour.

Here's hoping they'll be back real soon.