Friday Jams – Westerns Springs, Auckland 2019
Friday Jams was good times again this year for an estimated 38,000. At 5.30pm the queues were epic – a lot of people wanted to see Jason Derulo, amongst them this reviewer – but everyone seemed to be in a good and orderly mood despite that, the humidity and a few drops of rain.
WORDS BY AMY MANSFIELD | PHOTOS BY BRAD HOLLAND
We didn’t just get red-jacketed, MJ-dance-move-channelling Jason: we got four dancers, too: two guys dressed head to toe and two women not wearing much (what a surprise – yawn). Thankfully, Jason removed his layers after a while, too. Huge screens on either side of the stage, well-timed jets of smoke and fire and fireworks raining down – everything was organised for maximum excitement.
Not as an aside, Jason has pipes and he knows how to use them, whether in falsetto or just plain hollering. He did both.
As the evening progressed the number of dancers increased, with Janet Jackson’s and Jackson herself taking the cake in both style and moves.
Highlights were Derulo’s ‘Want you to Want Me’, 50 Cent’s weirdly-mixed-but-still-happening ‘In Da Club’ and Black Eyed Peas sampling everything from ‘Misirlou’ to ‘I’ve Had the Time of My Life’, plus will.i.am addressing the crowd thus: “When shit goes down, where you gonna move to? New Zealand! You have to know, this is the spot.” before handing out t-shirts saying ‘BE NICE’.
Most people were very nice, indeed. It all seemed so relaxed that even the cops were yawning. They just didn’t have that much to do.
Lowlights were 50 Cent’s reliance on his 20-year-old video clips, the occasional appearance on stage of a local MC in his shorts, the lack of green bins (not many, not any) and the fact that no-one seemed to know any of Janet Jackson’s songs.
The amped-up sound of the Peas might have been a more climactic final act. With Janet, things were more chill, not necessarily a bad thing for Sunday night pretending to be a Friday, though you got the feeling the crowd was at least 20 years too young for this particular Jackson.
It wasn’t quite the retro hit-after-hit effect of last year’s lineup but the party vibe of this event is pretty contagious. The young folk, and probably I, will be back again next year.