When Post Malone took to the stage at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium, he could have easily been confused for the headline act.
Because, unlike most support acts, Malone wasn’t received as the teaser, or a fun moment before you get to the good stuff.
He was the good stuff, and the crowd knew it.
The second the rapper took to the stage wearing an “I love Auckland” T-shirt on a warm Saturday evening, the vibe in the stadium shifted and adoring fans new and old roared.
The singer, lovingly known as Postie, took all the opportunities to speak to his biggest fans who he hadn’t seen since 2019.
“Thank you guys so very f***ing much for hanging out with me tonight. This is so very fun. Cheers!” Postie declared as he lit a cigarette on stage and smoked while playing an acoustic version of Stay.
His swagger and enthusiasm were everything fans have come to know and love about the star and his humour was there in bucket-loads.
Malone smashed his guitar on stage four times then abruptly jumped off the stage and handed it out to the crowd while security around him scrambled and rushed to his side. Malone was unfazed.
Fans continued to pile into the south Auckland venue during the performance, many remarking just how mind-blowingly good the opening act was.
Busting out his biggest hits, Fall Apart, Rockstar and Circles, fans held on to every word and the heavily tattooed star was, dare I say it, adorable in his authentic response to the love.
“Every time I come here it’s one of the most beautiful things in the world,” he shared.
How on earth could the Red Hot Chili Peppers top a man who within hours became the stuff of legends?
But when vocalist Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante took to the stage, the air was electric and they commanded with energy that declared they’d been on top for 40 years and they’ll be on top for 40 more.
Bassist Flea flew through the air and then jumped on the spot for an audience who screaming in sheer delight.
Opening with Around the World, Kiedis showed off his vocal range and the band instantly put their impeccable talents on full show.
“Hello Auckland,” shouted a purple-haired Flea before Kiedis reminded the rock legend that he was the man assigned the words.
But Flea continued to interact and share his humble ramblings: “Thank you for the sweet air and the green lush greens,” he declared. Every time he spoke the love from the audience was clear and the legend was thriving.
However, the songs the audience knew word-for-word became fewer as the band’s newer music took the forefront. But every time a song came on from the late ‘90s, iPhones raised in the air and the crowd screamed.
Flea then wrote a song on the spot titled “Auckland we love you” and the audience laughed in joy.
And when the California-based band began the first few notes of Californication the evening amplified and the excitement to hear By The Way was clear for everyone to see.
These were the headliners and this was their show, their arena and their crowd.
It’s been four years since the band performed to an Auckland crowd and fans were making up for lost time, begging for an encore - which Flea began by entering in an underwear-bearing handstand walk. Kiedis took his shirt off and put on a backward trucker hat and Mt Smart Stadium became a biblical scene.
However, the finale only lasted two songs and as the lights came on Mt Smart was almost shocked it was over so quickly with Kiedis darting off stage with only the most minimal goodbye.
But not Flea, who owned the crowd on Saturday night, declaring “New Zealand forever. Be kind, be gentle,” before he bounced off stage one last time.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone play their next show in Dunedin on Thursday 26 January and tickets are still available.