It’s all good and well to critique an artist on their sound from the comfort of your headphones – but then there’s a live performance.
No longer are you in your safe space. You’ve volunteered your time and energy to attend their show. From pre-act to encore, and artist is responsible for your entertainment.
Let’s have our look at who made the cut for our top 10 live performances of 2019, some home and some abroad.
10. Duke Dumont at Shed 10
In the 2019 Spotify wrap up for the year, House-producer Duke Dumont rightly had 152 million streams, with almost 18 million listeners in 79 countries. Phew.
Stand-out track “Red Light – Green Light” came through to Shed10 with its utterly ridiculous lyrics November 15. I feel all of us listeners of Dumont know how absurd this song is, full of childish instructions telling us when to dance and when to stop. But crikey is it inescapably catchy. My flatmates and I can confirm we had a great cardio workout, with a 2am line for our single shower.
9. Sachi at Studio The Venue
We walked into this one to find a 5-meter-tall circus lady greet us in the foyer and knew it was going to get weird, but to be fair the the packed event had been labelled ‘Cirque de Sachi’. The theatrical circus experience was opened by other up and coming NZ artists Ian Munro, 1174 and Teto.
Our very own Sachi has been gaining mega international traction, and of course not forgetting about their hometown, they came to show Auckland what they’ve been up to recently on the music scene! It was an epic night of banger tracks with a true proud-kiwi feel in the air. Most stayed on right till the end set as we danced the night away.
8. Dermot Kennedy’s performance on the Jonathon Ross show
Beginning his career as a busker in Ireland, Dermot Kennedy can now proudly say he rocked his bright green jacket in respect of his home country, and performed his melancholic single, ‘Outnumbered’ live on the Jonathon Ross show.
Ross said, “I was blown away when I heard our next guests voice”, and honestly Ross, we were too. This artist is a gem that won’t stay buried for long.
7. Halsey at the 2019 American Music Awards
Not sure how Halsey continued to perform after this insane amount of choreography and the level of paint she had dripping down her body. But how beautifully creative is this performance for the American Music Awards this year? The audience were obviously 100% entertained. She also went on to take out best pop/rock song with her single ‘Without Me’.
6. Taylor Swift at Mt Smart Stadium
‘Perfectly polished’ was the common consensus of this show. Swift came to our shores yet again with incredible stage presence, slick costumes, out of this world choreography by 20 professional dancers, a water fountain, giant snakes and floating stages. Felt like a modern age 21st birthday.
Never mind the rain. Everything about this show was designed to make the audience feel like they were on the inside of Swift’s world; and that it did.
5. Lewis Capaldi on Ellen
Capaldi’s on the list as he takes the stage to perform his worldwide hit “Someone You Loved” on Ellen. It is beautiful. He’s one of those artists that perform just as good as the polished version we hear on the radio. His chilled outfit, messy hair and self-deprecating vibe are to die for and a lot to do with why fans adore him.
4. Denzel Curry at Studio The Venue
Denzel tore the roof off at his Auckland shows. Seriously, this performance was hectic. Curry is such an incredible live performer – I would highly recommend to anyone who has not seen this guy live to go and check it out. He had the whole of ‘Studio – The Venue’ sweating, and also threw some wicked track surprises in the mix finishing with an explosive cover of ‘Bulls on Parade’ by Rage Against the Machine. Despite the show being on a Thursday night the venue was full to the brim, and everyone was turned up – clearly ready to ignore their Friday work alarms.
3. Post Malone at Spark Arena
Look – smashing back a good beer from a fans shoe isn’t the criteria for making it on the best live performances of 2019 list, but in this case, the act certainly bumps it up a few notches. Multi-platinum rap/pop/rock star performed a ‘shoey’ in front of a full crowd at Spark Arena in May this year and it was probably one of the strangest situations the audience has found themselves in. Love him or hate him, global phenomenon Post Malone brought himself and his million tats along to Kiwi Shores and demolished his 70-minute performance.
2. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performing Shallow at The Oscars
It’s no surprise the Oscars draw spectacular live performances, but this particular duet by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga was an easy standout. The pair casually arose from their front seats in the audience (not to pee), but to take center stage; Gaga at the piano, Cooper on the standing mike. They began to perform a soulful and emotion live rendition of the duet ‘Shallow’ from the film ‘A Star is Born’. Some way through the song, Bradley drifts over to the piano where Gaga sits, joins her on the stool and comes so scandalously close it feels they’re almost about to kiss as they sing into each other eyes. Not once do either of the performers gaze into the barrel of the camera, nor do they regard the sea of shiny global superstars in the audience. It is just Gaga and Cooper – each viewer an intruder. And it is amazing.
1. Billie Eilish at Spark Arena
I went to this show at Spark Arena earlier in April. Now I’ve seen a lot of live performances in my time, but this one takes the cake for me this year – Billie killed it. Her amazing range of talent was highlighted in the diverse set-list of the show and the energy in the arena was like no other. It was moving, perhaps because Billie’s lyrics mostly sing of being misunderstood and sad, and all these young fans weren’t just singing, they were screaming them and feeling them as their own.
“This can’t be for real” said Billie as she started out into an ocean of New Zealand’s adoring eyes.