Fred Again Auckland Review: Spark Arena was home to a party I'll be telling the grandkids about
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Fred Again Auckland Review: Spark Arena was home to a party I'll be telling the grandkids about

The best school night gig ever.

By Matthew Pledger

We live to feel, and the range of feelings that poured to and from the 12,000 people at Fred Again’s Auckland show was nothing short of magical.

My mum and dad's faces light up with gorgeous smiles when they talk about seeing Billy Joel and Elton John play together in 1998 at the then Ericsson Stadium in Auckland. When my time comes and I have my own little people running around, I look forward to sharing with them a piece of my heart.

I look forward to smiling ear-to-ear when I tell them about the magical evening of connection, gratefulness and love at Fred Again’s show!

All of Fred Again’s music is deeply linked to people and emotion. He captures such raw human moments with his sampling and then extends those moments into a piece of art that we share collectively. Human experiences shared, all together.

‘Angie (i’ve been lost)’ is the closing track on Fred Again’s debut album ‘Actual Life (April 14 — December 17 2020)’. Before playing that song at Spark Arena, Fred said, “This is my favourite part of the whole night, when we sing these 2 lines together:”

“I’ve been lost, I’ve been lost, I’ve been lost, I’ve been lost for a while. But I’m really trying.”

I’m conscious of using profanity, but I will indulge in using the C word for this. Here it comes. During COVID, we all felt lost, we were experiencing something we hadn’t before. That song so beautifully distils the feeling of being rudderless in a world you thought you knew.

There were many lovely moments on stage where Fred Again asked for the house lights to be turned on so he could see the crowd. “Before that happens [and the lights come on] I’m terrified up here, and now it feels nice.” It was refreshing to hear him in real time share how he was feeling.

To a choir of screams, Fred proclaimed his love of our country: “New Zealand and Australia have been our favourite fucken place to come down to, so thank you so much.” 

Fred Again had a second stage set up in the middle of Spark Arena where he played a few songs. He noticed Wellington DJ Messie and her mates and invited them on stage to boogie. She opened for him at his Coroglen gig on Monday night and was so impressive that Fred invited her to do it again for an overseas show. 

However, Messie didn’t have a passport so Fred pleaded to parliament to sort one out for her and they got it done in under 12 hours. Maria Robertson, the Deputy Chief Executive of Internal Affairs, sorted it out after her son told her what was happening.

That’s the allure of Fred Again: He’s a nice, kind-hearted bloke who wants to uplift and engage a community.

Fred spent many moments onstage behind the piano. Playing arenas is still a relatively new thing for him, and I got the feeling that he feels safe when he sits down and can connect physically with an instrument. It was almost as if the piano was reminding him to take a breath and be in the moment.

Fred also mentioned many times throughout the night how grateful he was and how moments like these are not lost on him. So to Fred, Joy (Anonymous) and the incredible crew they tour with, thank you.

Thank you for sharing yourselves, connecting us, and giving us the best school night gig ever.