Anne-Marie – Live @ Spark Arena, Auckland 2019
Breakout artist Anne-Marie performed her first New Zealand headline show last night at Spark Arena. Marketed as a show for all ages it most certainly was and the crowd was comprised of groups of friends, couples on a ‘date night’ as well as kids accompanied by a parent and out on a school night a variety of whom were rocking some glitter painted on their cheeks.
WORDS BY KIMBERLEY JONES PHOTOS BY DAVID WATSON
Kiwi band Openside opened the night with some upbeat numbers including Character Flaws and Work Out to warm up the crowd while the rest of the concert goers finally took their seats in the quarter arena.
The English pop singer songwriter has rocketed to fame with a few collaborations with the likes of Rudimental and Sean Paul to name just two let alone her very own sound and amazing vocals. Celebrating a birthday in the next week, Anne-Marie gave her all for all the adoring fans, a lot that had hairstyles much like the artist in some of her music videos.
The stage was set up with platforms for the drums, keys and guitars with the lady of the hour up close to the edge of the stage. Sirens welcomed the star to stage and she began with Bad Girlfriend that had the crowd on the floor heaving to the beat quickly followed by Cry.
“Yo Auckland, make some noise!!!!”
With almost no pretence the young star casually dressed in a long sleeve white shirt & zebra print skirt lead us into the next song, Do It Right, by saying, “This one’s a little bit old but if you know it please sing it along with me.” Listening to every instruction issued from the stage the crowd jumped when told to and screamed anytime there was the slightest pause.
The one and only New Zealand show and the very first on her Australasian Tour was nonstop energy. Admitting that she thought this was possibly her first concert since November, it never would have been assumed as she belted out Heavy & then Perfect to Me, my personal favourite.
Anne-Marie responded to each and every “I Love You” from the crowd and went on to tell us that one day she was feeling ‘fine’ and so wrote Perfect to Me on her way to the studio. Saying that she grew up with the likes of Alicia Keys and specifically Christina Aguilera’s song, Beautiful to inspire her, she hoped this song does for others what they did for her.
Next up was Trigger, we were told that she thought it was important for the world but especially important for this country right now. Which quickly lead onto another song about a ‘bad boyfriend’, Ciao Adios, with the stage bathed in pink lights the crowd had amazing backing vocals for the singer and were graced to finish the song for her.
Making sure that everyone on the floor by the stage all had their chance for being acknowledged, Anne-Marie ran to each corner of the stage laughing and saying that she would get fit if she could do that all night. “But chocolate…..it’s so yum.”
I love her little quirks that she has while performing, like how she rises to her tippy toes for some notes while she is walking or dancing round the stage and often leans back ever so slightly. Can I Get Your Number and Don’t Leave Me Alone were the next in the set list with some bright lights flashing through the latter and I mean REALLY blinding, enough so that a number of us in the audience had to use their hands to block them?
Anne-Marie went on to tell us a story about the next song, Alarm, how it was written about a holiday she had in Ibiza with a boyfriend that stayed out a bit late one night and came home smelling of another woman and came up with 3 different stories to cover up. Going full circle, Then, was an indication how she came out stronger than ever after recovering from that heartbreak. Obvious that this memory still brings back some sadness, Anne-Marie wiped some tears away & promptly jumped down to the floor with a significant mic drop to go give someone in the front a big hug. With security rushing for her, she made her way across the front of the floor stopping to touch some hands & a couple of other hugs on the way back to the stage. I absolutely loved her giggle as she ran back up onto the stage apologising & saying that she is easily distracted.
“You are so lovely. There are moments like this and it takes the pain away. From being away from family.”
With a few words to lead them, the crowd started the next song, Rockabye, however got a bit lost in the middle so Anne Marie started again. She offered the microphone to someone on the floor to fill in the rap that Sean Paul would usually have done and said that it was like listening to a “magical” choir as the crowd finished the song for her as well.
“This is the part where you sing even louder than you have the whole show.”
With the majority of the melodies performed last night from Anne-Marie’s album Speak Your Mind, the night finished reasonably early, however this would have been a relief for some that have school today. Anne-Marie finished with an absolute bang performing possibly the most recognised of her album 2002 and FRIENDS that was a collaboration with Marshmello. There was a break between these two songs as the band stepped down from their platforms and crouched on the front of the stage to get a photo of all that were in attendance.
“Thank you so much for having me here. I have loved every single minute of it.”