"You've come through the traffic and the ticket prices and we're so grateful," says Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.
"In return we're going to try to play the best f***ing concert of our lives."
The fireworks erupt with the opening strains of Hurts Like Heaven, and the show begins.
Heart-shaped confetti sprays across the 50,000 people and the gate-issued wristbands flash in unison as Mt Smart is lit up like a supernova.
From the stadium-rock grandeur of Paradise to an intimate acoustic encore, Coldplay rarely hit an off note over 100 minutes.
Martin, all pogo and whirling dervish-like, bounces around and falls flat on his back at regular intervals, tossing his guitar high into the air.
Draped in the New Zealand flag, he sings of being missionaries in a foreign field, and he undoubtedly converted a few souls to the cause last night.
"This is for Pike River, this is for Christchurch. This is called Yellow," he says, before blasting into the old favourite.
We don't get many big outdoor concerts these days, more's the pity based on this effort.
Coldplay, a guilty pleasure and an international treasure.By Bevan Hurley @BevanHurleyHoS Email Bevan