The second stop of six concerts celebrating Teeks' debut album Something To Feel was held in Auckland on Saturday night; a magical moment doesn't even begin to describe it.
The Civic Theatre was sold out and filled to the brim with both young and old. The setup was intimate: a piano, string quartet, drums, two backup singers and guitarists circled behind a lone mic stand.
Support act Majic kicked the night off singing in soulful te reo Māori, before sharing more of her intensely personal songs. A highlight was listening to her perform a song that encouraged the audience to remember their loved ones who have passed on and to recognise that their spirit could dwell within them.
When Teeks took the stage for his set, he sauntered out in a cream-coloured baggy shirt, black suit pants and the cleanest white sneakers to the hollering of an adoring audience. A light show and synth intro led into the opening song If You Were Mine. From the start, the band helped his distinctly raspy yet rich vocals soar through and fill the entire space.
A quick welcome to the audience in te reo Māori soon followed. Teeks gave the initial impression of a soft-spoken and easy-going, yet slightly shy figure. There was the distinct sense that he preferred to let his music speak for him, and boy did the next few songs speak. Into You in particular showcased his signature delicate high notes and had the whole audience swaying in unison.
Teeks also gave a sincere thanks to those in the audience who had listened to his material since his first EP: The Grapefruit Skies and dedicated renditions of past hits Never Be Apart and Wash Over Me to them - the audience enthusiastically responding by singing along immediately.
He then offered reflections on Something To Feel, emphasising that title "says a lot by not saying much" and that by trying to feel something in the album creation process, he was espousing that it's "cool to be in touch with your feelings". He then performed a number of songs from the album including Waves, with the strings setting the scene via hauntingly sharp tones, allowing Teeks to plunge into the depths of his range. These Hands, one of his groovier numbers, practically had the audience lowkey body rolling in their seats.
A special mention goes out to when Teeks did a cover of one of my favourite Frank Ocean songs - Pink Matter. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I lost my cool and yelled out in sheer delight.
Another special moment was asking the audience to turn on the flashlights on their phones while he sang a rendition of Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me - a tradition of his to perform at concerts.
The cutest moment of the concert, however, had to be when he went off the setlist and sang his nan's favourite song a capella, explaining that his nan hadn't heard him perform properly until this tour.
What stood out about Teeks is that he really meant the words he was singing. He spoke on the importance of taking the time to pause and just be in the moment, and to express feelings while not caring so much about what other people thought. Through It All was one such expression, a testament to the journey of life and its obstacles, especially those that we create in our own minds.
Closing the concert, Teeks dedicated Last Time to "all the lovers in the building" (and then cheekily added singles in as well, to rapturous applause and cheering). After a rousing finale, he slipped off stage similar to how he entered to let the band close the evening. However, the audience did not want to leave! A lengthy standing ovation pulled him back on stage for two encores before everything concluded.
Teeks has an uncanny knack for singing with a gravitas that makes you feel like you are in a stadium, but at the same time as if he is singing for you and you only. Referring to himself as "just a Māori boy from the Far North with big dreams", his voice and message echoing throughout the packed Civic Theatre has proven that he can turn his dreams into reality.