Review by Faith Hazel
Photography by Samantha Davies
Making New Zealand music history for the second time, Six60 headlined yet another huge sold out show at Auckland’s Western Springs Stadium. Friends and family filled the park’s capacity of 49,000 without disappointment.
It takes great musicians to know others and with that, the band put together a fabulous string of openers that got the entire crowd pumped before their 9pm start on the big stage.
New Zealand born music producer and DJ, Soraya kept the stage alive, performing with kiwi artists throughout the night such as Paige and Wax Mustang but starting with the lovely Vayne. Setting off the night with a bang, she had the whole crowd dancing and feeling the vibes of the homegrown music. Hitting the stage next was Church & AP, two auckland rappers who definitely know how to interact with the crowd and get the rhythm of the night flowing. Joining the set with Soraya, was kiwi pop sensation, Paige. Playing her hit song ‘Bloom’ earned her cheerful smiles from the crowd and got the fans moving freely. She showed her ability to keep a crowd entertained and with no struggle did she find it hard to keep up the energy for herself. Wax Mustang showed up with a short but sweet set of a couple songs. He had a laugh with the crowd and in spite of the short time Wax made the most of his 10 minutes with a confidently enjoyable performance.
Mitch James shared a homelike feel with his performance, not only did he do such a great job performing, it was incredible to have other kiwi artists opening throughout the night as it gave us the chance to dance around and have a good time listening to songs from home that we all knew.
As it got later into the night with Ocean Alley setting off the last opening set, the crowd became more pumped and excited for Six60. Unfortunately I didn’t know much about the band before coming to the show, however they had the perfect sound that created a great atmosphere in the stadium. It seemed the band was quite popular and their music had everyone vibing together. Their set was very laid back and they were all-around amazing performers.
The five man band, Six60, formed in their Dunedin flat while attending The University of Otago were not here to play around. For years it has been an unspoken rule that as a New Zealand citizen it is a requirement to grow up listening to the band, “the foundation of this country” as many kiwi’s would describe it.
Before the show, global hits such as Sweet Caroline and Ride wit Me, blared through the speakers as a 6:60 minute countdown began, the crowd screamed the lyrics to the popular songs in unison and the anticipation for the show grew immensely. As the countdown picked up with only 10 seconds left, blue lights filled the space and the band took the stage opening up with ‘Never Enough’. It was a magical feeling hearing almost 50,000 people cheer and sing along together.
A steady flow between their hit singles ‘Vibes‘, ‘So High’ and ‘Special‘ were enhanced by the energy from the crowd. Throughout the night there were times where the fans were so loud they overpowered Six60 themselves. Those were the times, myself and everyone around me felt a sense of belonging, there is something special about seeing a kiwi band performing what will be on of the biggest shows our country will see for the year. The stadium lights dimmed as we found lead singer of the group, Matiu Walters, standing up above the crowd facing the terrace and embankments. He did a short acoustic set singing their hit Rise Up. It was nice to see the back parts of the crowd involved with their flashlights and singing.
Moving more into the show, the band had a small conversation with the crowd explaining where they come from and how none of this would be happening if it wasn’t for the fans and their friends and family being their biggest support. This opened the perfect gate to perform the song that put them on the map with New Zealand music, ‘Don’t Forget Your Roots‘ and sent them rocketing through the charts back in 2011. Finishing the song with a graceful rendition and performing the Te Reo version known as Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō. It brought many members of the crowd to tears and you could hear the proud kiwis singing along at the top of their lungs. The stage was transformed into a Marae as the parts of the ceiling moved and were lit in traditional colours, and Kapa Haka dancers filled every inch of the stage. It was a beautiful moment that was shared, and will be remembered by most for a long time.
The night was coming to an end but the band took the stage for an encore as screams filled the stadium. Carrying out their last two songs of the night, ‘Don’t Give Up‘ and ‘The Greatest’, the crowd roared louder than ever and everyone was living out these moments, soaking up the good vibes one last time. The band said their goodbyes and thank-yous, taking in their last few seconds in front of the largest crowd in New Zealand for their second year in a row.
Tears were shed, voices were lost but memories were made.
Soraya ft. Vayne
Church & AP
Soraya ft. Paige
Soraya ft. Wax Mustang