Why Don’t We
Spark Arena, Auckland
November 28th 2019
Reviewed by HAZEL REID
Why Don’t We finally hit New Zealand shores, performing to a crowd of screaming fans at Spark Arena last night. This also marked the final show on the final leg of their 8 Letters World Tour after wrapping up shows in Europe, America, Asia and Australia over the past few months.
The evening kicked off at 7 o’clock sharp when the first of two support acts, Taylor Grey, strutted onstage. Taylor hails from California and has been touring with the boys in their past tour legs, bringing her pop tunes to the stages across the world. She was joined with her two-piece band and treated the crowd to a brand new song while also performing Poison and Talk to Me.
The crowd was then treated to the second support act of the night, Eben; who has been a regular and audience favourite at Why Don’t We’s past shows. As one of the members said ‘it feels wrong touring without him’. He had a great performance energy and ran around the stage singing his upbeat tunes including That’s Alright and the crowd loved every second.
After a bit of a delay, the lights went dark and the screen flashed with Why Don’t We’s special show intro that gave me Harry Potter vibes. Limelights (Why Don’t We’s fanbase name) were encouraged to share clips of their evening online with other fans so it wasn’t surprising a sea of phones went up as the group walked out onto their individual platforms to launch into Trust Fund Baby to start the show.
They jumped off their individual platforms and danced around the stage for Choose, interacting with the very loud and excited crowd. All they had to do was shout ‘Auckland!’ after the song and the venue erupted, they went on to say that is was the last show of 8 Letters tour ever and “what better place to end it in New Zealand, you’ve all been so nice and thank you for coming.”
It became evident, with Auckland’s show being the 92nd of the tour (as mentioned by the boys) that they had the show down – they were all in sync and pulled off a performance memorable for their kiwi Limelights (even when one was under the weather and they’d all had less than an hours sleep after stepping off the stage in Sydney the evening before).
After a costume change and a stage rearrange, they flowed on with In Too Deep, which was the song that involved the fan project that a group of Limelights had organised and handed out to the crowd earlier in the night. Why Don’t We admired this, saying mid-song, “your lights look beautiful. They look like a galaxy, it’s crazy.”
Running off after Why Don’t We Just for what would be their third outfits of the evening, the interlude included a throwback video of the group at their first band meeting and releasing their first EP back in 2016 and showing a behind the scenes look at releasing their 2017 hit, Something Different which flowed into a live performance of the song.
Showcasing more of their creative talent side, Why Don’t We gathered at the front of the stage as a soundboard instrument was bought out for Daniel as they launched into an upbeat Finesse / Better Now cover mashup. Post-performing one of their newer tunes I Still Do, they told the crowd that three years ago when they started the band they couldn’t have even imagined it all. “If you’d told us we would be in front of this huge crowd in Auckland, New Zealand one day… you’ve changed our lives and we’re going to remember this forever.” They further cemented this by taking a photo with the crowd, with a New Zealand flag to boot.
Their Limelights here have been waiting for a show for so long, it was only fitting that they performed the first song they released, Taking You. “Shout out to all the day one’s in the crowd, sorry it’s taken us so long to get here,” the boys announced as the crowd turned up a notch singing every word to the song. They mentioned the lack of sleep but mentioned the fans energy was keeping them going. While they were in NZ for a very short time, they ‘can’t wait to come back’ and much to fans delight, are working on their next album.
After performing their hit with Macklemore, I Don’t Belong in This Club, “Thanks for coming out, it’s really special and it’s crazy to be here in New Zealand where it’s 21 hours ahead of LA. It’s Thanksgiving today in America so I want to on behalf of everyone up here tonight, thank you for everything – you’ve changed our lives forever. It’s a blessing, I can’t even put it into words.”
Corbyn said he wanted to ‘preach something real quick’, telling the crowd that “anyone who has a dream, we’re living proof so don’t you ever think for a second you can’t do anything in this world – you can. If us 5 fools can do it, you can do it – work hard and be passionate. Youth is the future so let’s change it ok.”
Just like that, the boys were about to sign off after their jam-packed 90 minute set with Daniel on cello, Jonah on keys and Corbyn, Zach and Jack on guitar for a special live performance of their newest release, What Am I. They ended taking a bow at each end of the stage and with a ‘Thank you New Zealand, see you guys next time’, they left the stage for the final time on the 8 Letters World Tour.
The fact that the Why Don’t We boys were shattered post back-to-back shows in Australia the past week and Asia the week before, didn’t let it stop them from giving the kiwi Limelights a show they will remember. The impressive 23 song set list plus the visuals and creatives made the show even more memorable. When I interviewed the boys last year (5 Minutes with Why Don’t We), they mentioned how they really wanted to perform here so it was awesome not only seeing them live last night but seeing how many fans had the time of their lives seeing their faves in the flesh.
From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.
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