After taking a hiatus in 2017, Auckland City Limits returned this year to Western Springs with an array of names - higher profile legendary artists Grace Jones and Beck sat amongst up-and-coming talent like Sigrid and Jon Lemmon.
Check out some of our thoughts on our highlights from the day below…
Following in the footsteps of fellow Norwegians Aurora and Astrid S who’ve visited New Zealand over the past 12 months, the recently crowned BBC Sound Of 2018 winner Sigrid saw an early afternoon slot with an audience size that suggested a later slot would have been more suitable.
Opening with ‘Plot Twist’ from her ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ EP, her energetic set showcased both the known and the unknown - with unreleased songs ‘Raw’, ‘Credit’, and ‘Go To War’ a sign of things to come in Sigrid’s career.
It’s hard to believe that Auckland City Limits was George Ezra’s first ever live public performance in New Zealand - with a platinum certified debut album ‘Wanted On Voyage’ and double-platinum certified single ’Budapest’ making it supremely obvious that New Zealand is in fact, very fond of Gezra.
Ezra was undeniably charming on stage - launching into ‘Cassy O’ with a truly overjoyed expression on his face. Pausing to acknowledge the audience with a “It’s lovely to see so many of you,” Ezra continued with a newer release ‘Paradise’, lifted from his upcoming sophomore album.
As with Sigrid, his set contained both the familiar and the unfamiliar - singalongs ensued in ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Listen To The Man’, and upcoming album cuts like ‘Hold My Girl’ and ‘Shotgun’ saw the audience enthralled by future fan-favourites.
With six albums under their belt, Phoenix’s frontman Thomas Mars explained to the audience mid-way through their one hour set that “because we have to get through six albums” there was no time to stop and chat.
Opening with ‘J-Boy’ from their ‘Ti Amo’ album, the four-piece band (who tour live as a six-piece) were without a doubt the highlight of the festival - with their slick live performance, which was matched with a visual production that changed nearly every song.
Nostalgia was felt throughout the crowd in older cuts ‘Lisztomania’ and ‘1901’, with the extended instrumental of ‘Love Like A Sunset Part I’ showcasing each and every member on-stage. The band closed with ‘1901’, but not before Mars threw himself into the audience for a stage-dive that carried himself mid-way out into the sea of people - where he toasted the crowd with a drink handed to him by someone in the crowd. After this truly unforgettable set, let’s hope Phoenix don’t take another 18 years to return to New Zealand.