Dean Lewis – Live @ The Auckland Town Hall, 2019
Attending the first New Zealand headline show of Dean Lewis last night at the Auckland Town Hall was an interesting way to end the week.
I was asked by someone what kind of crowd I thought would go to see him and to be honest I couldn’t have guessed in a million years.
WORD BY KIMBERLEY JONES
Higher security measures were clearly in place as it was like navigating a rabbit warren to get to the general admission in the stalls, which was already half full when I arrived and while the majority of the crowd was reasonably young some of the outfits were astonishing. Never thought I’d see a cowboy hat in the Town Hall these days.
With opening act, Auckland based, Balu Brigada hitting the stage at 8pm, most of the crowd quickly stood and attempted to get as close to the stage as they could. The band seemed to be known to some in the crowd and gave a short yet very energetic set.
Although the person everyone had come to see didn’t get to stage until after 9, the multi platinum, Australian singer/songwriter Dean Lewis promoted his debut album, A Place We Knew with pizazz. Hold of Me was the first song played and had all the girls screaming and I swear the floor almost gave way with all the jumping. A great opener and the pace didn’t stop as Need You Now was followed by the album title song, A Place We Knew.
A brief chat with the crowd long enough to tell his adoring fans that they are amazing and we were straight off into Stay Awake, which ended up having a Town Hall full of back up vocalists for the chorus. With some even dancing to their own beats especially at the back of the Hall, there were even some running round in circles clearly having the times of their lives. With a quick thanks for coming out he introduced Chemicals as the next tune. The purple and red lights covering the stage were almost lost as cellphone torches were turned on, highlighting the beauty of the room we were in.
Dressed all in black, Dean Lewis displayed incredible guitar skills and commanded the stage like he’s been doing this for years. Demanding more from the crowd by screaming “Sing It”, Lose My Mind was deafening both musically and with the crowds response. Half a Man was performed with Lewis sitting at a keyboard and accompanied by a sole cello. With an ill timed solo from somewhere in the crowd bringing some giggles the masses hushed to appreciate the quieter meaning of the song.
Announcing that his album is out now, just in case we didn’t already know, Lewis shared that he had planned to perform some of the songs from the album stripped back for the tour. Time To Go began with only keys and acoustic guitar before the band joined in with bass guitar and some percussion.
Next up was Don’t Hold Me that we found out was meant to go on his EP but he just didn’t like it so it ended up on the album but Lewis is happy with how it has been received during the current tour. The hit single Be Alright echoed through the Town Hall of course getting the most rousing round of applause from the crowd as well as Lewis sitting back to listen as we all sang some of the bridge back to him.
“Are you guys having fun? You are probably one of the best crowds I’ve performed for.”
The 7 Minutes chorus came to him while in an uber, Lewis admitted. He also covered his next song a couple of times when he was younger and hoped that we would enjoy his delivery of The Feelers, When We Were Young.
The next song, For The Last Time, was introduced as the first song that Lewis wrote that he claimed “didn’t suck”, adding that this was the last song of the night while using his fingers to quote. Cell phone lights lit the Hall again and we all got our sway on. With a boyish grin and his mop of curls, Lewis came back for an encore of Straight Back Down and Waves.
The venue was well chosen for the fan base and reminded me of when I attended my first concert as a young teen. While it was definitely loud, it was also a pleasant and enjoyable end to my week. Without holding it against him, this Aussie seems to have cracked our market and seems to thus far have worked very hard for where he now finds himself. With two singles such as 7 Minutes and Be Alright in the pop charts it should be expected that more great things are to come from this young artist. One thing I would suggest to him is to perhaps brush up on his joke delivery but all in all a good night.