A cold midweek evening was livened up by Migos who lit up the Spark Arena by playing an extremely heated, energetic and sweaty show to an almost capacity Spark Arena last night, on their first visit to New Zealand. Their assault on the visual and auditory senses included circle pits, visuals and pyrotechnics, all which bemused the predominantly young attendees in the audience.
The trio from Lawrenceville, Georgia, formed in 2009, are now undeniably one of the biggest rap trios making waves right now. Gigging off the back of their popular 2016 album Culture, the tour finally saw them visit New Zealand and Australia for the first time. There were many questions and lively debate about whether or not the group would be actually allowed past New Zealand airport border control due to trio’s high number of legal issues, fortunately for us, they did make it through.
Opening act was Baltimore R’n’B artist 6lack (pronounced black) who brought a lot of pre show hype and energy, which successfully got the crowd engaged in the set with help from excellent backing band. I was unsure of what to expect from his set but I was impressed by his vocals which reminded very much of his past touring partner and now legendary The Weeknd. Accompanying his skillful performance was a great set of visuals.
By the end of 6lack’s performance, I had already witnessed many crowd tumbles and unfortunate audience members being pulled out of the packed crowd by security staff which made me feel relieved I was able to view from the safety of the stands whilst remaining fearful for the health of the crowd below when the headlining act would take the stage.
Between 6lack’s stage pack down and Migo’s set up, a selection of popular tunes was played to keep the crowd patient and maintain the excitement. Most notably, tracks such as Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow and Kendrick Lamar’s m.A.A.d city which saw the crowd go wild with ecstasy and enthusiasm; I had never seen a crowd as big as this one and so ready to get down with the performers.
At 9:30 DJ Durel took to the stage to warm up the crowd, although it was already proven his fifteen minute time in the lime light was not needed. He played tracks from other hip hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Ferg and Future who recently cancelled his show at the same venue.
Finally after waiting for what felt like forever, at 9:45 Migos finally graced the stage to a visual of DJ Khaled yelling “Migos” over and over again. They wasted no time and instantly launched into track Get Right Witcha, the whole arena went crazy and fans were losing their minds and inhibitions!
Unfortunately among all the hype and energy, I was disappointed to realise the backtracks were much louder than the vocals and group bad boy Takeoff looked like he was not happy to be there, standing in one place with his hoodie up and barely pressing his microphone to his lips. Nevertheless, Offset and Quavo were the clear crowd favourites and putting in the most effort to the stage presence.
My satisfaction with the performance diminished and dissolution grew by the third song on the set list What the Price? The vocals just turned into tuneless yelling and the effort that was present in the song had disappeared and this so early in to the performance.
One of the major highlights in the set was when the group demanded the crowd opened a circle pit which, although taking a couple attempts to succeed, was raw and amazing to watch unfold.
Nearing the end of performance, I had grown tired of hearing similar sounding trap beats and effortless yelling. This feeling endured until they played their hit song Bad and Boujee. Quavo demanded that the crowd get out their torches and give it all their best; the crowd responded in kind. The pyrotechnics were shown off to their full potential and trio all joined in including Takeoff who was absent in the original recording of this track.
The trio brought their forty five minute performance to an end at 10:30, with DJ Durel concluding with a small DJ set. The fans were pleased and soaked in sweat, I was exhausted although a bit disappointed, I had never been the biggest fan of rap concerts and Migos did nothing to change my mind but I gave it a fair hearing and this was not the worse way to spend a few hours!
Click on any image to view a photo gallery by David Watson: