Reviewed by HAZEL REID 
Photos by HAYLEY SMITH

BENEE
Spark Arena, Auckland
Friday 16 October, 2020
4.5/5 stars

We are just days into Level 1 (well for Auckland anyway) so it definitely felt a bit weird and pretty special at the same time being in a (very large) room with thousands of people in Spark Arena last night for Benee’s final sold out stops of her nationwide 2020 tour. 

Muroki

Auckland was in for a treat from the get-go with not one but two support acts. Local Tom Verberne kicked off the evening, followed by the first artist signed to Olive, Benee’s new record label, a 19-year-old artist hailing from Raglan named Muroki. Muroki rocked out on the guitar during his set alongside his five-piece band including two guitarists, a backing singer, a drummer and keyboard player. Muroki’s performance included the first single he released, For Better or Worse and had the crowd clapping along, lapping up his infectious energy and he delighted them with a live performance of his new single, Light Me Up to finish. 

As the venue lights went down, the scene was set with a mysterious curtain projecting a visual introduction before Benee herself ran onto stage to a roar of cheers. The curtain dropped to reveal her band, massive tree props and a very impressive visual-set-up, which continued throughout the evening to set the scene. Benee swung into things with Tough Guy followed by Wishful Thinking before bringing Muroki back on stage for their collaboration All The Time, a song off her upcoming album Hey u x. The large crowd (sold out!) got louder when the chords of Find an Island started with a sing-a-long following this, we were only four songs in but it definitely felt like a good ol’ party! 

As Benee bounced around the stage in her eye-print pants and leopard-print cat ears headband, her carefree happy vibe was unmissable, something we all love to see – especially in the time we are now. Benee said “I didn’t think I was going to be able to play shows for like a year so thanks Cindy [Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern].” Benee is also live-streaming her second Auckland sold-out night and last show of the tour via her website so that fans who weren’t able to come can experience and be apart of it themselves, even from home. 

It was awesome to see Benee interacting with the crowd and she also encouraged everyone to vote so they weren’t a ‘loser’ while acknowledging some of the crowd may not be able to vote yet and shared that it was her first year voting. Benee had posted online for the audience to dress up as she was, so was it a surprise when she utilised an instrumental interlude after performing Soaked to change into a space suit? That’s what I call an A+ costume change. 

The setlist was made up of old and new tunes including a taste of her upcoming debut album Hey u x, set for release next month. The Auckland crowd was treated to Same Effect, Happen To Me and Kool, and if that’s anything to go by – we can’t wait to hear the full 13 track record on November 13th.

What’s a concert without an encore? After performing a whopping 16 songs, Benee returned to the stage to end the night on high energy with two tracks to keep the people pumpin’. Sheesh featuring Grimes is an electro beat you can’t not dance to and we can’t forget the catchy tune Snail. If you weren’t able to snag a ticket to one of Benee’s sold out shows (including Auckland show #2 tonight), remember that you can catch the special livestream of it tonight – check out beneemusic.com for how to experience this along with all of the ticketing information. 

Set List

  1. Tough Guy
  2. Wishful Thinking
  3. All The Time ft. Muroki
  4. Find an Island
  5. Afterlife
  6. If I Get To Meet You
  7. Monsta
  8. Happen To Me
  9. Soaked
  10. Drifting ft. Jack Berry 
  11. Same Effect
  12. Evil Spider
  13. Night Garden
  14. Glitter
  15. Kool
  16. Supalonely ft Gus Dapperto 

Encore
17. Sheesh ft Grimes
18. Snail

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