The Adults with the APO

By Patrick Campbell

Artist:  The Adults with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Date / Venue:  Thursday January 30th, ASB Theatre (Aotea Centre), Auckland

It was a sight to see, walking into the ASB Theatre and being confronted by a stage filled with an extremely large orchestra and a band right at the front of it all. It was also something special to hear; two hours of beautiful orchestral scores backing experimental rock songs written by some of New Zealand's finest talent. The theatre was packed for the show, and the audience's enthusiasm was extremely clear after the first song finished and the crowd erupted into applause, the sound rivalling that of the orchestra itself.

Throughout the first half of the show, the band - led by Jon Toogood and Julia Deans - showcased their musical skills while the orchestra took a backseat for most of the tracks, mainly playing as a quiet accompaniment to the main show. The bands musical skills include; playing bass, various other forms of guitar, keyboards, grand pianos, and vocals, and that's just Julia Deans. Between the four members, and with the occasional vocal aids of Anika Moa and Ladi 6, the band created intricate walls of sound harmonising, playing complicated guitar solos and even a keyboard line that is "supposed to shake you in the pants" according to Jon Toogood. The highlight of the first half came in Nothing to Lose a collaboration with Ladi 6 whose vocals astonished the crowd, leaving most of them in awe and simply repeating "Wow".

When the band returned for the second half and began with Everyday I Wake Up, you could tell not only they, but the orchestra meant business. Right from the start of this half, the performers gave the audience what they came to see. The orchestra and band battled against each other and became one in an explosive arrangement of the song. And so the second half continued, highlights included the sometimes a ca pella, sometimes fast paced orchestral battle; Reunite and the final song, a slow, moving collaboration with Ladi 6 which culminated with another intense, orchestral display. But the band didn't stop there, due to a popular demand for more from the audience they bought Ladi 6 and Anika Moa back out and due to a lack of repertoire they played Nothing To Lose again. This time it was a special moment to witness. Anika Moa sang harmonies off the top of her head and the entire band was laughing and full of joy.

The encore performance captured the best moments of the night and threw them together, it displayed the talent of all the musicians involved, and showed their fun lively attitude's and enormous stage presence -even when they had an orchestra behind them. Being a one off concert, it was clear this was a special event to be kept in the audience's memory for a very long time. But I strongly hope that The Adults do more shows like this, it was simply incredible.