Six60 have made their history at Eden Park - and they've done it with a smile and before a crowd with an "electric" atmosphere despite intermittent showers.
"What's up New Zealand? We are finally here', SIX60 lead singer Matiu Walters told the crowd as the band went on stage at 8.30pm.
"We did it New Zealand. We are the first band to play Eden Park."
A kapa haka group performed a haka before the sell-out crowd of around 50,000 before the chart-topping Kiwi band opened with fan favourite Don't Forget Your Roots.
Later, in an Anzac Day eve tribute, the New Zealand Defence Force band joined Six60 on stage as they sang White Lines.
The atmosphere was electric, one fan told the Herald as the Six60's planned two hour set got underway.
"The band can't stop smiling."
The show means Six60 make history as the first to ever headline a gig at the famous sports' stadium; with the only other music performances there restricted to small cameos from groups before and after sporting events.
About 50,000 have already staked out their spots outside the venue; again showing Six60's huge appeal after previous sell-out gigs at Western Springs.
In doing so, the band became the first Kiwis to ever pack that venue as the headline act.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG
Even fans off-site were enjoyed the show.
"Whether you like Six60 or not, I'll say one thing", one woman wrote on Twitter.
"Their fans love them and the crowd voices I can hear at my place sound amazing."
Another, a man living near Eden Park, tweeted that he was listening on his door stoop to 50,000 people singing a few blocks away.
"You cant deny this is a moment."
Gates opened at Eden Park at 4pm - and within 10 minutes final box office tickets were gone, according to Ticketmaster's website.
Before Six60 hit the stage about 8.30pm a host of other popular Kiwi bands performed, including Maimoa, JessB, Troy Kingi & The Clutch, Sir Dave Dobbyn, and Drax Project.
Sir Dave Dobbyn won over the crowd with a string of sing-along favourites including Slice of Heaven, Outlook for Thursday and Bliss.
Six60's show follows a successful bid from the Eden Park Trust Board to be able to host gigs at the venue.
Previously a minority of residents had formally opposed them.
But early this the trust board successfully gained consent for up to six concerts in any 12-month period.
The concerts can take place on weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays preceding a public holiday and public holidays, subject to restrictions on frequency, duration and timing.
The public hearings were held late last year and the three Independent Commissioners considered evidence from the Eden Park Trust and submitters, which included the expert assessments of technical specialists, before making their decision. They concluded the identified adverse effects can be adequately avoided or mitigated, if conducted in accordance with detailed conditions of consent.
A large number of submissions were received on the application with 2966 in support, and 180 in opposition.
Weather tonight was expected to be less than celebratory though, with passing showers forecast during the gig.
The Eden Park show crowns a recent series of gigs for Six60 which has seen about 130,000 go to six other shows over summer.
Had Eden Park not got the green light, there was a very real chance Auckland may have missed out completely.
"We don't really do Plan Bs," frontman Matiu Walters admitted last month. "We were waiting to get an answer on this. Now we don't need to do a Plan B. There were no other plans."
The band and Eden Park bosses faced significant resistance to gigs being held at the suburban venue by the Eden Park Neighbours' Association (EPNA), a small but committed collective of neighbouring homeowners.
Last October, the two sides faced off in a week-long, resource consent hearing at Auckland's Town Hall. Venue management argued that they be allowed to host their six allowed music events each year without needing to jump through the prohibitively expensive hoops of gaining resource consent for each individual show.
"It was touch and go on different levels," Walters said. "It was touch and go with the hearings and touch and go with Covid coming back in. But we gave ourselves a good chance and we got it."
In a statement after the gig was confirmed, Eden Park chief executive officer Nick Sautner added: "The first concert at Eden Park is a significant milestone for both our staff and our community. Six60's support throughout the resource consent process has been felt across our business, so it is entirely fitting they headline our concert debut at this iconic 118-year-old venue."
Tonight isn't Walters' first time hitting the field. He performed the national anthem at the All Blacks/Wallabies clash last October and won a First XV rugby championship there when he was at school.
His grandfather also captained the Māori All Blacks in a game against Australia in 1957.