I was 16 when I went to my first concert. At that time I would've been listening to rap - Tupac and 50 Cent. It wasn't until I was 17 that I started getting into rock 'n' roll and learnt to play an instrument.
It was 2006 and it had been 13 years since U2 had performed in New Zealand. I grew up with U2 - albums like Rattle and Hum and The Joshua Tree. I'm not a massive fan now but at the time, it was the music I grew up with. My brother first introduced them to my mother when they both went along to the Zooropa concert in 1993. Mum got into them in a big way, she would play the records around the house and I knew every single word of The Joshua Tree.
The show was at Mt Smart Stadium, and I remember it was raining, on and off. But nothing could dampen my spirits, I was too pumped to hear the roaring guitar work in Bullet The Blue Sky. I was excited to see some famous dudes rock out.
The coolest thing about this concert, for a 16-year-old who listened to rap, was that Kanye West was the opening act. Kanye had recently released Jesus Walks and Gold Digger, so it was right up my alley. All I ever thought rappers did was rap against backing tracks and strut the stage, but this wasn't the case.
Kanye was accompanied by a full band and a string quartet to top things off. It was awesome.
My first concert was also my first time dealing with toilet queues. After Kanye had finished I rushed to the toilet to find a line that would take 15 minutes to get through. Finally after shutting the door to the portaloo, I hear the loudest distorted guitar chord.
Bono's glasses beamed over Mt Smart stadium. Photo / Dean Purcell
There was no way I was going to miss anything so I left then, before I could do my thing, and rushed back to where my family were sitting, only to find that this was a sound check for the guitars, and not U2 on stage.
Back I went to my toilet queue. After enduring the toilet saga and plenty of drunk people, U2 were on stage.
Bono and his glasses were beaming over Mt Smart, The Edge was still wearing the same hat he's been wearing for years, and they were sounding great.
It was amazing to hear the songs over a massive pitch. I enjoyed the set as a whole, but really got into the classics. They played a fair bit of new stuff I wasn't too keen on but when they launched into Angel of Harlem and I Will Follow, life was good.
Overall, I learned all you could learn about concerts at this one. I probably wouldn't go see them again but I'll never forget singing along, knowing all the words, with my family next to me.
X-Factor runner-up Benny Tipene releases his debut album Bricks, this Friday, October 17.