Khalid, Auckland NZ, 2017

Khalid
12th November 2017
Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand.

Review by Kate Taylor. Photography by Jordan M Vickers.

Khalid performing live in Auckland, New Zealand 2017. Image by Jordan M Vickers.

Slick presentation, faultless delivery and a pure connection to his crowd of peers, Khalid glittered at Spark Arena last night, dipping into Auckland for the first ever time on the last ever date on the American Teen Tour.

Sydney’s Ruel set the night off; with Triple J, M-Phazes and Thief’s underager giving an accomplished performance well beyond his years. As I entered the main arena space Ruel was finishing up his cover of Alessia Cara’s Here; and doing a fantastic job of it too, as he interacted and led his band of much older players, who were bringing tight musicianship to the stage. Ruel switched easily between focusing on his vocals at the mic or getting into some guitar accompaniment; especially on Who Did That To You by John Legend which Ruel let us know was a busking fave of his on the Manly beaches back home; Ruel arranged it perfectly by kicking it off with just him, guitar in hand and the mic; to the full band dropping in behind him and giving it a lush, audio boost. Ruel gave us his first single Don’t Tell Me as his parting hit and it perfectly summed up the bright future this young dude is embarking on; and with the crowd’s joyous response to Ruel, I’m sure he’s going to be back again before too long.

The moment that Khalid appeared Spark Arena erupted in applause and screams that didn’t abate and served to welcome and warm him. Smoothing us down with his delicious mix of EDM, Soul, R&B and Hip Hop; Khalid is effortless and relaxed, cutting moves onstage with no care for if he looked cool or not, with no contrived bullshit from his demeanor whatsoever, just sweet sweet chill vibes. Working alongside his full band who are nailing it, and shimmying next two his two literal, cheerleader dancers, Khalid weaves through the light beams emanating behind him before addressing us directly. “This is my first time here, ever, and I already feel like this is my home now, and I don’t wanna jump the gun but I think you could be the loudest crowd of this tour, this is awesome…in a place as beautiful as this. But before I go any further I just want to thank every person who brought a ticket, you’ve made this tour what it is and to kill the mood this next song is going to be sad as shit…” demonstrating Khalid’s wonderful sense of humour and personality as he eased into Another Sad Love Song and the video screen flickered with the scene of a burning bridge to match the track’s lyrics.

Bringing us Saved and sharing it was one of the first songs Khalid had ever written; he was feeling the love. “This is absolutely crazy, thank you guys so much, oh shit, like this is overwhelming, like I appreciate you guys so much. So this next song is a song I wrote about my ex…” as a front rower yelled “Fuck your Ex!”, Khalid lit up and chuckled, “…cause yeah, Fuck My Ex! This one is called Shot Down.” Following on with poignancy dedicating Angels to a dear friend Khalid recently lost; with the warm and supportive crowd following the lead and unleashing an arena filled with dancing phone torch lights, giving the space an ethereal glow. Representing the 915, his home of El Paso Texas, Khalid dedicated Winter to where he’s come from, letting the crowd know “I’m going to bring the 915 to you.” After a huge rip through of Silence, Khalid let us know “that was the loudest I’ve ever heard that song be sung, this is the hypest crowd I’ve performed for, ever, so I couldn’t leave without performing this song right here, this is Location.”

Leaving us with Young, Dumb & Broke; Khalid beamed with pride as he shared that “this song went to number one in New Zealand first…” insert crowd loosing their gawddamn minds, “…so we’ve gotta sing this song as loud as we fucking can!” With the crowd deafening as they sung along and enjoyed every second of their time with Khalid; they matched his vocals with perfect pitch on this anthem for the disenfranchised, the confetti guns exploding in unison with their hearts as Khalid completed his excellent and engaging performance. While this was his first visit to our shores, the love Khalid was shown by Auckland tonight, and for his music generally here in New Zealand, proved that Khalid won’t be forgetting us in a hurry.

Were you there at Spark Arena for this magnificent pop rnb show? Or have you seen Khalid perform live somewhere else before? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Setlist:
  1. American Teen
  2. Let’s Go
  3. Another Sad Love Song
  4. 8TEEN
  5. Saved
  6. Hopeless
  7. Cold Blooded
  8. Shot Down
  9. Coaster
  10. Angels
  11. Keep Me
  12. Winter
  13. Silence
  14. Location
  15. Rollin’ (Calvin Harris + Future)
  16. Young Dumb & Broke

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