Prince touches down in Auckland ahead of concerts

Prince fans are excited to hear the singer on his first ever tour to New Zealand.
Prince fans are excited to hear the singer on his first ever tour to New Zealand.

Prince has landed.

The International megastar touched down in style, arriving in Auckland on a private Jet Wednesday afternoon.

He stepped into a black Audi en-route to his hotel, believed to be The Langham.


He stepped foot on New Zealand soil for the first time ahead of two shows tonight, which sold out in 10 minutes.

His fans gathered in Aotea Square today to collect wristbands for the event, a measure put in place to stop scalpers.

Carl Hill from Wellington walked through the double doors of Auckland's ASB Theatre with a smile on his face and a wristband on the same arm he had inked with a tribute to the singer, many years ago.

Carl Hill traveled from Wellington for the show
Carl Hill traveled from Wellington for the show

The swirling design is well known as the star's signature 'love symbol' which combines signs for both male and female.

"It was my first tattoo," Hill says shifting a Real Groovy bag from one hand to the other.

The first of many, but not his final nod to Prince. He also plans to get a portrait of the Purple Rain hit maker, "if I can find a space."

Both arms are a vibrant patchwork of ink, much of it dedicated to music, which he listens to exclusively on vinyl.

A self proclaimed lover of "bands and heavy metal," Prince is his favourite solo artist and an exception to the rule.

Hill had been prepared to cross the ditch for an intimate Piano and a Microphone experience, before the singer announced he was coming to New Zealand.

He landed a single seat to the later viewing despite tickets for both shows selling out in just 10 minutes.

"I paid $400 after the first lot went, I have 150 of his albums on vinyl," he said.

"It's the fact that he writes and composes his music, he's like a modern Mozart. He plays 30 different instruments."

It's not just Hill who's buzzing, there's a general hum of excitement in Aotea Square as people bustle past with purpose, following purple arrows which lead the way to collect a golden wristband for tonight's 6.30pm Prince show.

Those heading to the later concert at 10pm, got a more fitting purple striped wrist adornment.

The singer's first trip to New Zealand draws a vast audience - from old to young, men, women, the music obsessed, the Prince obsessed, quirky, straight laced, you name it.

In an anti-scalping measure, no one will be let into the venue without an arm band, and every single audience member was required to have theirs fitted in person. Cell phones and large handbags were also banned.

Most people accepted the strict guidelines without issue.

Ken Furushima, who works in Auckland central, says it's a small price to pay for the experience.

"It's Prince, whatever he says is fine by me".

A satchel slung over his shoulder was packed with CDs from the singer's 40 year career in anticipation for tonight's performance.

The ambitious music lover also hoped to head to Vector Arena tonight for a show by American Hip Hop artist A$AP Rocky, though Prince was his priority.

"I may not get to A$AP, but I will be there for Prince."

Christchurch friends Tracey Hunter and Carmen Hepi escaped the shaky city for a once in a lifetime night out.

Tracey Hunter and Carmen Hepi from Christchurch get excited for the show.
Tracey Hunter and Carmen Hepi from Christchurch get excited for the show.

After seeing the tour announcement on Facebook, they both logged into different computers to nab their tickets.

They planned to dress up for the occasion, and could not contain their excitement.

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"I like the fact that it's more intimate, picking up the bands, getting a CD after the show - it's like being in a club, it makes you feel special," Hunter says.

Twitter fans were quick to pick up the hashtag #princenz to share their excitement.




- nzherald.co.nz

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