When it comes to life’s highlight reel, people might look back and think of the moment they held their firstborn child, landed their dream job, heard the words “sold” at an auction, or locked eyes with the love of their life.
But for one budding Kiwi guitarist named Rachel, the moment rapper Post Malone pulled her up on stage to play a song with him on the guitar - and which she executed perfectly - will be hard to top.
Opening with Better Now, the US mega-star took to the stage of Auckland’s Outerfields at Western Springs and was met with a deafening roar and an on-brand cloud of smoke.
“Postie”, as he’s lovingly known by fans, or Austin Richard Post as he’s legally known, has become somewhat of a staple in the Kiwi summer concert diet, opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers at Mt Smart in January this year in an “I Love Auckland” T-shirt and putting on an opening show that would have been well placed as the headline act. The rapper also performed at Spark Arena in 2019 and Trusts Arena in 2018 during his meteoric rise up the charts.
His album Beerbongs & Bentleys sat in the New Zealand top 40 charts for a whopping 138 weeks and last night it was easy to see why - where Postie goes, fanfare follows.
But the heavily tattoed New Yorker appeared humbled by the crowd’s response - placing a hand on his chest and soaking in the atmosphere before asking “Auckland how the f*** we feeling?” and then revealing his adventures around Auckland in recent days, including a spot of karaoke at Danny Doolan’s.
“We got to spend some time around town and everyone is so kind and everything is so beautiful, so thank you so much. I f***ing love you,” the singer declared before throwing his plastic cup into the crowd and playing Zac and Codeine from Beerbongs & Bentleys.
Belting our bangers Goodbyes and Mourning, Malone’s fans knew every word and his now-iconic dance moves, including the placing and balancing of a plastic cup on his head, found their equal in the packed crowd.
A cigarette-smoking Malone added I Like you and Rockstar to the set list after slicking his brows with his fingers and declaring his love for the crowd one more time, before crowd participation was taken to an entirely new level.
Spotting a sign in the crowd, the rapper took a moment to speak to an eager female fan in a green hat, and after a quick chat pulled her up on stage, declaring the woman named “Rachel” was going to play a song with him.
Appearing nervous after quickly nabbing a selfie with Postie, Rachel took the microphone and declared “I’m literally shaking right now, I love Austin so much”, before taking a seat with the rapper’s guitar in hand.
Grabbing a beer from the side of the stage, a humbled Malone passed it to Rachel, telling her: “Here, I’ve found this helps with the shakes.”
Together the pair went on to perform an acoustic version of the hit 2018 song Stay and the crowd cheered her name as she didn’t miss a beat - Postie encouraged their call, clearly taken by the guitarist’s skillset.
But the audience participation didn’t stop there, as a tatted fan called Daniel was then summoned to the stage to show off his full back tattoo of Post Malone’s face, which the rapper went on to sign to deafening applause.
And while the detour from the setlist and scheduling may have set his team into a frenzy backstage, to fans it just felt right for what they had come to love about Postie.
You never felt like he was just rattling through the set list - he stopped to feel emotions, express gratitude, and took the show wherever he saw fit. It was like Postie looked his crowd in the eye and knew exactly what they wanted and delivered it banger after thrill-inducing banger.
Smash hit Congratulations was met with fanfare as the show began to wind down, and Postie declared to fans his sincere wish that they do what makes them happy and “Auckland, live your f***ing dreams” before a quick exit pre-encore.
And as he emerged on stage one final time, confetti canons exploded as the opening notes of Sunflower began and a joyous chorus of fans could be heard.
But it was his current radio hit Chemical that bid Auckland farewell as the heavens began to open on Auckland and the lyrics, “I can’t let go, it’s chemical” could be heard in unison as revellers began to shuffle out of the venue and raise one final glass to a night that really did leave them feeling Better Now.
Jenni Mortimer is the New Zealand Herald’s lifestyle and entertainment editor. Jenni started at the Herald in 2017 and previously worked as an education publication editor. She’s also the host of The Herald’s parenting podcast One Day You’ll Thank Me, mum to Knox and Postie fan girl.