Six60 thanks fans: 'We made history together'

Matiu Walters (left) and Chris Mac perform on stage at Western Springs. Photo: Dave Simpson...
Matiu Walters (left) and Chris Mac perform on stage at Western Springs. Photo: Dave Simpson/WireImage via Getty Images
Chris Schultz reviews Dunedin band Six60's record-breaking concert at Western Springs.

They might be New Zealand's most business-minded band, but there was nothing workmanlike about the opening moments of Six60's big gig last night.

With the lights down, the band's front man Matiu Walters strode onto the Western Springs stage in Auckland, stood in front of his microphone, put his hand over his heart and nodded to the 50,000 people in front of him.

Once the welcoming din had died down, it was straight into the singalongs: opening song Vibes morphed quickly into the Dunedin five-piece's big radio hit Special as huge screens full of blinding graphics lit up the band.

For Rolling Stone, Walters strode out onto the runway in front of the stage and held his mic stand over the crowd for the first big singalong of the night.

"What's up everybody? We did it - we made history together," Walters told the crowd before debuting a new song to rapturous approval. "It's just Six60 and their choir of 50,000-strong. Are you ready to sing and have a good time tonight?"

They were. They definitely were. With the event sold out since September last year, the stadium's 50,000 punters were crammed in everywhere: moshing in the front rows, swaying in the aisles, packing out the ground field, crammed shoulder to shoulder on the embankment, and rising up into the angled terraces as far as the eye could see.

Six60 are the first New Zealand band to headline at Auckland's Western Springs. Photo: Dave...
Six60 are the first New Zealand band to headline at Auckland's Western Springs. Photo: Dave Simpson/WireImage via Getty Images
Several cheeky Western Springs Rd neighbours on Old Mill Rd had erected scaffolding to give visiting friends and family a perch for a better - and much cheaper - view over a large concrete wall.

Six60 didn't play it safe either: during a heavier version of their first No. 1 hit Rise Up 2.0, Walters climbed the stage's structure while guitarist Ji Fraser played the song's heavy riff, then belted out the chorus from several stories up. It ended with a dramatic electronic remix.

They weren't scared to move about either: ballad Finest Wine and crowd favourite Roots were performed out on that runway while surrounded by lamps as a homage to their Dunedin flat - at 660 Castle St - where the band began.

Walters and sampler Marlon Gerbes then moved to a stage in the middle of the field for several songs - including another new one - under a spotlight.

But it was the encore that really proved Six60 were ready to pull off their first stadium show in style: backed by a 15-piece choir, they belted out an emotional version of Mother's Eyes, turned in the biggest singalong of the night with Don't Give It Up, then left ears throbbing with Forever, the last song of the night.

The show set a record for the number of people pulled by a Kiwi band, and everyone involved seemed to realise they were part of something special, from the kids rocking out on shoulders to security guards dancing in front of barricades, all being filmed by a documentary crew turning the concert into a future feature film.

The band realised it, too. The smiles never left the faces of Fraser, Gerbes, drummer Eli Paewai, or bassist Chris Mac, who appeared to be having the best time out of everyone, dancing around the stage and waving at fans.

Walters, meanwhile, kept repeating that opening moment, putting his hand on his heart while nodding, pointing and thanking the crowd for making this a stadium spectacle worth remembering.

"Somehow, we've gotta come back next year," he told the crowd.

Earlier, you'd have to put your money on Drax Project to become the next Kiwi band to "do a Six60": the Wellington group's polished performance of perky pop songs showed they also have an ear for crafting singalong radio hooks for the masses.

"This is the most people we have ever seen," quipped front man Shaan Singh as fans jumped up onto shoulders, waved their hands in the air and sang along to their recent radio hit Woke Up Late, and a cover of Justin Timberlake's Summer Love. "This is amazing," he said.

Other acts to perform included DJ illBaz, reggae group Sons of Zion, and Onehunga rap crew SWIDT, who got the party started early with an electrifying set of bass heavy hip-hop that ended with an entourage of about 20 on stage dancing along to success anthem Conquer.

"Who's ready for Six60?" asked rapper Spycc as they bounded off stage. The roar from fans back at him answered his question nicely.

Add a Comment