Tag Archives: Spark Arena

been | Imagine Dragons – Spark Arena

I must confess, I’m not too familiar with Imagine Dragons so wasn’t sure what to expect when they played to a sold-out crowd at Spark Arena on Monday night.

First up, was Australian Indie-Rock group The Temper Trap who have graced our shores before in support of Coldplay many years ago. Warming up the crowd and giving us a terrific set that covered their last few albums – most notably their iconic closing song, Sweet Disposition which seems to be on everyone’s playlist still, nine years after it’s release.

After a change of set which saw a few massive LED screens positioned over the stage, the crowd was ready for Imagine Dragons. The band arrived on stage to massive applause. I immediately noticed lead singer Dan Reynolds was in “Activewear” which is something I don’t expect from a pop-rock band from Las Vegas but hey maybe that’s the rock’n’roll thing to do nowadays.

Opening up with I don’t know why and transitioning into Believer I realised why he was in “Activewear”. Reynolds is the ultimate performer with vocals to match his physicality. He pretty much ran the perimeter of the stage, did some very low squats and high knee runs, muscles glistening with sweat, all while singing.

If you aren’t a fan of Imagine Dragons you would have definitely have heard their music somewhere. It seems to be the number one music choice for contestants who sing on The Voice, American Idol or some other generic singing competition that we all secretly enjoy watching.

The show had a few touching moments, with Reynolds and band dedicating Forever Young (originally by Alphaville, not the Beyonce/Jay-Z version) to the recent school shooting in America and Reynolds talking about managing his depression and anxiety with professional help. Forever Young wasn’t the only cover that night as they also did a beautiful re-imagination of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.   Towards the end of the show, the band relocated to the opposite end of the main stage to treat the audience in the back to a more intimate performance which was beautiful.

Peppered throughout the night were confetti shooting out of canons, massive white balloons bouncing around the arena (hello Coldplay 2008), and abstract video imaging on the big LED screens. The band definitely put on a massive performance and they were feeding off of the crowd’s energy; giving us an amazing show.

The band finished off their set on the main stage with their hit Radioactive, incorporating large perspex drums that all members of the band used to great effect. I think most people left the arena that night either feeling very impressed or turned on (or both).

I may not have been a fan heading into the show, but I definitely am now.

Did I mention Reynolds had his shirt off?!

been | Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour

Last night, Spark Arena hosted Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour, with special guest Kehlani.

It was clear to see how this was Kehlani’s third visit in 6 months; New Zealand is definitely not bored of Kehlani and it didn’t look like they would be anytime soon. With her fair share of fans in the audience, she was greeted with raucous rapture. Singing her chart topping tracks, she entertained the crowd her Distraction, CRZY, and Good Life.

With her enigmatic stage presence, she hypnotised the crowd with her sultry voice and sexy moves. It was perhaps her cover of Into You (Fabolous ft. Tmia) that was the most memorable, she performed with such finesse, I preferred her version to the original.

For 23 year old artist , Kehlani performed like a stage veteran, giving us a memorable performance. She also addressed her devoted LGBTQ fans; telling them not to change who they are and to be proud. A fitting message considering this week’s news stories. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw her back here again within the next six months.

Now onto the headliner for the night.

Halsey had a plan for her Kiwi fans last night; it was to make sure everyone was having a great time. A plan she executed meticulously.

Halsey graced the stage as a silhouette hiding behind a great white sheet. As soon as she began singing the first verse of Eyes Closed, the sheet was pulled down and she commanded the stage.

Donning a sparkly spandex leotard, accessorised with a headpiece that can only be described as a glittered thin, translucent balaclava, she performed her next three singles with finesse. Amidst her set, she performed a piano version of Closer (by the Chainsmokers). Towards the end of her set, she surprised the crowd, by jumping off stage and walking the perimeter of the arena floor.

Her show and performance was nothing short of electric. She had iridescent visuals, accompanied with lighting, flames and CO2 cannons; and as the crescendo of the show, confetti bombs to end a memorable performance.

Halsey’s true talent as a vocal artist was showcased at the concert. Her vocal range was diverse and unique. Her stage presence is also unique. At point one of the show, Halsey and her dancer jumped into a shallow water pit, kicking water in the crowd, whilst visually stunning, may not have been enjoyed by the security team in front of the stage. Her story telling skills gave context to the chart topping hits she performed.

Despite being 23, Halsey performed put on a show like those with 20 years of performing experience. For Helsey’s first performance in New Zealand, she’s left the crowd wanting more and will be sure to sell out her next tour here.

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been | The Weeknd

How do you become a Motherf**kin Starboy?

Canada has given so much to the world….Justin Trudeau, Bryan Adam, Celine Dion, Drake, Maple Syrup and even Justin Bieber!

And another great Canadian graced our shores last night and filled Spark Arena to the rafters….The Weeknd

In his first ever NZ performance, The Weeknd ‘turnt up!” The crowd were treated to one of the best concerts of the year. Accompanied by his live Band, he performed his biggest hits of his career so far. Opening the show with his chart topping single Starboy, the performance set the bar for the rest of his hour long set.

He took the crowd on a musical journey of his career performing singles from his mixtapes – House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, along with a rare performance of Angel – a favourite single of his, from his second album, Beauty behind the Madness. He also gave breathtaking performances of his other chart topping singles Wicked Games, Can’t feel my face and I feel it Coming. Complemented by the visuals and a triangular, floating lighting rig, made for a showstopping concert.

The Weeknd also appeared to be very humbled by the crowd reaction, whose cheers and calls for an encore were deafening. He thanked the crowd on several occasions promising to return to New Zealand every year.

Let’s hope he sticks to his promise so that many more can see the motherf**kin Starboy!

been | London Grammar

They say good things come to those who wait and Kiwi fans of London Grammar were certainly kept in anticipation on Saturday night.  

Nearly half an hour later than scheduled, London Grammar graced the stage of Auckland’s Spark Arena and fans were awarded for their loyalty.  Over 5,000 were eagerly waiting to see London Grammar’s first ever New Zealand performance and they weren’t disappointed.

Starting with a minimalistic performance of Rooting for you, Hannah’s unique and mellisonant voice resonated throughout the arena.  Performing songs from both their albums, die-hard fans sang along to every song while the majority of the crowd bellowed to their chart-topping singles; Hey Now and Strong.

The subtle lighting and colour washes, their humble approach, and the emotion on their faces made it a mesmerising performance to watch.  This was further complemented by their unique ability to make the arena performance feel intimate.

My only gripe; after spending hours vocal training at local Karaoke bars, practising for my time to sing-along to their cover of Bitter Sweet Symphony, I was disappointed to hear it wasn’t part of their hour-long set.  Still, London Grammar gave a fantastic performance and I hope we see them on shores again.

Check out all the photographs from their performance here.