With a major international act playing every two days, and plenty of local shows on offer too, the packed summer of music is about to draw to a close when Ed Sheeran's record-breaking run kicks off next weekend. We thought it was time to give out some awards. Did you go to the right shows? Check out our highlights below.
The best opening act: Foo Fighters
It's not often that Dave Grohl gets upstaged. But that's what happened when the Foo Fighters chose Weezer to open for them at this summer's biggest rock show. Yes, it was pouring with rain but it didn't matter as Rivers Cuomo and his band of geek-rock gods took to the stage clad in wet weather gear. They chose a perfect setlist that included plenty of Blue Album and Green Album hits. Just as the rain got really heavy, they bashed through their irony-heavy Feels Like Summer. Grohl and co tried, but they were never really in with a shot.
The best stage show: Bruno Mars
We usually associate summer with great festivals and outdoor gigs, but not so much stage shows. Bruno Mars changed that. It wasn't just your average concert, it was a full-on production, the likes of which don't often make it all the way down to little ol' NZ. There was non-stop dancing, some quality crowd banter, surprisingly impressive vocals, fireworks, confetti cannons, lasers, and even a skit. It was easy to see why people compare him to Michael Jackson; we can't think of anyone else who really puts on the full song and dance like MJ used to and man, it was a riot to watch.
The chillest crowd: Alanis Morissette
We can't speak for the entire tour, which also passed through Queenstown and Taupo, but the final date of the Greenstone summer tour in Whitianga has to be the most relaxed event we've ever been to. Colin Hay, Alanis Morissette and The Orchestra drew a sellout crowd of 15,000, who were more than happy to sit back, relax and settle in for a day-long picnic in the sun. Sure, we probably spotted more people napping than dancing – but it still made for a perfect summer Sunday.
The right act in the wrong venue: SZA
Tickets for SZA's Powerstation show sold out in less than 10 minutes, so it was pretty clear that a shift was imminent. The resulting move to the larger Logan Campbell Centre made for a strange dichotomy, as Aucklanders got to witness one of the best performers of our time – in our worst venue. Watching SZA embody her masterpiece CTRL on stage was nothing short of breathtaking – but in that weirdly designed, lifeless tin out in Greenlane, her sound wasn't given the nuance it deserves.
Best mind blowing visuals: Roger Waters
Even Roger Waters had to stop what he was doing to appreciate the spectacle of the show. You can't blame him. There was a lot going on. A screen behind the band projected visuals that started in deep space before hurtling to earth to zoom through city streets and war zones. A shape-shifting wall split the audience in twain to project anti-fascist sloganeering and pop-art propaganda. A giant floating pig circled overhead. And lasers zapped over the audience to form a huge pyramid that recreated the iconic Dark Side of the Moon album cover before exploding and showering us with confetti. Trippy, man.
Best food: Laneway
For lunch, it was a steaming hot crispy fried chicken sandwich, with pickles and aioli. Then we checked out the dumpling place for a box of steaming pork and vegetable goodness smothered in chilli oil. Somewhere along the way, there were some hand-cut fries, a Nice block and a pork bun. Then another trip back to the fried chicken place for another sandwich, this time opting for the "f***ing hot" option. The music? Well, Anderson Paak was great. But the food, OMG, Laneway will go down in the history books as the festival we filled our boots at.
Most diverse line-up: Auckland City Limits
At this year's ACL, you could watch Scribe and P Money tear through some nostalgic jams and then without even moving, watch Tash Sultana perform her weird and wonderful set filled with guitar riffs and panpipes, and Future and his crew tear up the stage with some heavy hip-hop. Then you could wander across to hear the pop tunes of The Avalanches before one of the world's biggest queer icons, Grace Jones took to the stage for some disco and pole-dancing. If ever there was a wonderfully diverse line-up, ACL had it, and hearing about people who discovered something outside their comfort zone as a result, is what it's all about.