A stunner of an Auckland late Spring day melted into a hot night at Spark Arena for the second consecutive appearance of Khalid on his worldwide Free Spirit tour. It was a historical night that I’m sure the crowd, like myself, will cherish for more than just the good times shared but for the special Grammy moments in the careers of both Khalid and Lucky Daye that will be marked on that evening for them.
Arriving first onto the stage was Lucky Daye, an intriguing and accomplished artist who so humbly shared with the assembled that while this was his “first time in New Zealand”, this is also his “first year of doing music.” That snippet insight into the man behind the music was a shocker as Lucky Daye is so smooth yet laid back and in total command of his allure, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’s been doing this since forever.
Along with his full band, Lucky delivered an irresistible set that was layered with RnB, Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, Rock and Jazz flavours so you know, seriously proficient stuff. Framed by grunge reminiscent Orange amps, Lucky was silky over solid cuts of Ready for Love, Roll Some Mo, Misunderstood and the Ginuwine homage Karma; where the bass slap and Lucky’s intoxicating cadence warmed up the crowd and had us all coming together on an A cappella of Pony’s chorus.
Lucky then burst forth in youngblood vibrance on his performance of Real Games, jumping down into the front row pit area and connecting with fans as a crescendo rose from his band. Pure swag. Here, Lucky let us know that he’d just received the news that Real Games had been nominated for a Grammy and you could sorta feel the electromagnet pulse of everyone’s approval, congratulations and excitement for Lucky Daye on this achievement. Grateful for him travelling to see us all the way from Louisiana, Lucky Daye brought the sexy vibes and is an absolute class act that I feel lucky to have seen at this exciting point of his career… pun very much intended.
Awww, Khalid. What can you say about Khalid? This pure ray of sunshine and authenticity shone like the megawatt star that he is from the instant that he stepped onto what seemed to be a cavernous stage space, swallowing Khalid as he began with 8Teen.
Touching his fingers to his earpiece occasionally as the rapturous screams of the crowd drowned out his track. Presenting a comfortable and relaxed demeanour from his broad smile to his ultra-cute dance moves. Then similar to the content of his songs, Khalid was supported by a cast of bounding dancers... who Khalid later revealed are his actual friends and how grateful he is to be able to travel the world with them, performing for us, creating and connecting with each other and for all the upturned expectant faces coming to see him play every show.
Deftly tucked away to the sides on tiered risers, Khalid’s band were stationed emitting beautiful work. Khalid is a generous performer, giving of himself and his art as he shared moments on stage with his dancers, even joyously giving the mic to one of them to wail it out in appreciation. Completely owning it, Khalid is probably the last person who would consider himself a sex symbol but as he approaches the front of stage and smiles, an atomic pop of screams float above the massive sound of Spark’s PA.
Visually Khalid and co have created a stunning show, no small feat when his music is heartfelt and stripped back to essential goodness. However paired with eclectic dance, innovative videography and editing, Khalid demonstrates the hefty acumen he’s manifested since his last visit to us. Taking a seat to have a moment, Khalid thanked us all for coming out to see him for a second tour date and was delighted to let us know that he’d just learned that Talk had been nominated for a Grammy as his wore a mean mug and comedically brushed the hater dust from each of his shoulders.
Before launching into Saved, Khalid let us know that it was this song that made him feel grateful to be able to make music and to share it with us, so it was fitting then that he needn’t sing the final chorus at all as the crowd did this for him.
Deep into the setlist now and My Bad, Better and Silence all play out excellently before Khalid expressed excitement for Lucky Daye, whom by this time had received the news that he’d be nominated for a total of four Grammys! Special, historical stuff that it felt incredible to be a part of. Obviously Young, Dumb & Broke, the most anthemic of all of Khalid’s many uplifting anthems; was a huge crowd fave which was met with delightful, gleeful abandon on the lah dah dah dah dah dye dye, finished with Khalid and his dancer pals moving in together for an onstage pic to commemorate the tour, their friendship and this special night.
KHALID's setlist from Auckland
- (Intro/Free Spirit)
- My Bad
- Bad Luck
- Right Back
- American Teen
- Another Sad Love Song
- (9.13 Video Interlude)
- Outta My Head
- Young Dumb & Broke
- Love Lies
------ ENCORE ------
- Salem’s Interlude
- Saturday Nights