By Pauline Hunt

Artist: Nelly

Date / Venue: Tuesday November 29th, 2016 - Vector Arena, Auckland

Nelly returns to NZ for his tour 2016 and this time bringing with him, Blackstreet and Blu Cantrell as the supporting artists. Nelly’s last tour in New Zealand was 2015 and it didn’t take him long to return to do another show for us. Cornell Iral Haynes. Jr better known as ‘Nelly’, began his solo career in the early 2000’s and releasing his debut album ‘Country Grammar’. The album debuted at #3 on the billboard charts which went onto peak at #1 and to date is his bestselling album.

Warming up the stage to have the audience amped up as they were walking into Vector Arena, was Australia’s DJ Horizon. Playing all the hits from early 2000’s to today, he was sure to get everyone in the mood for what was to come. He was also to introduce the first supporting act for the night, ‘Blu Cantrell’. Performing her 2 biggest hits, ‘Hit em up style’ and ‘Breathe’, she sure got the audience reminiscing about their younger days 16 years ago. After a short performance, another intermission break to make sure the stage was ready for the next act.

As the lights started to dim and chairs being brought out on stage, we knew was up next. RnB group ‘Blackstreet’ were about to perform and the audience couldn’t be any more excited. Opening their performance with their hit single ‘Don’t Leave Me’, this was sure to get the girls screaming and weak at the knees. They then went onto perform their hit ‘The Fix’ as well as slowing back down to ‘Joy’ and ‘Before I Let You Go’ while also throwing out roses for the ladies. The boys clearly haven’t lost their vocal abilities as their harmonies were on point as well as their smooth dance moves. They finished their performance with their biggest hit ‘No Diggity’ getting everyone all hyped up for Nelly.

There was another intermission of about 40 minutes so the stage could be prepared for the headliner himself. Hitting the stage first, was Nelly’s DJ to prepare the audience of the party that was about to come. While the crowd was dancing away to the hits that were banging out of the speakers, the instrumentation of ‘E.I’ belts through and everyone knew what was about to happen. Fellow St Lunatics member ‘Ali’ comes on stage followed by Nelly himself and all you can hear is screams echoing through the arena. Nelly then went onto perform all his big hits from ‘Ride Wit Me’ to ‘Country Grammar’ as well as ‘Air Force Ones’ and ‘Where The Party At’.

Nelly also took some time to talk to his fans and find out where his fans from day 1 were. His latest single ‘The Fix’ had the crowd going as soon as it played through speakers, again making everyone even more excited than they already were. He kept the energy going by belting out lyrics from club-bangers such as ‘Grillz’, and ‘Move Your Body’ and then performing ‘Body On Me’ which features Ashanti and Akon. Nelly wasn’t ready to slow down though, continuing the party with ‘Flap Your Wings’ and ‘Hot In Herre’... which is what it definitely felt like at the time inside. Even to the point where some males mistook the song literally and thought that was their cue to take some of their ‘clothes off’ as the lyrics suggest.

After releasing his energy into the room, Nelly decides to slow the pace down performing his records ‘My Place’ as well his record with Kelly Rowland ‘Dilemma’. He goes onto thank his fans in Auckland before deciding the end the night with ‘Just A Dream’, which I’m sure everyone thought it was as it meant it was the end of a great night.

Knowing what he was in for, after coming and performing in NZ before, Nelly knew what he had to do. Without a doubt, he brought energy to his show and he projected that same energy out to the audience to make sure they were on his level and that they would have a memorable night. Blu Cantrell and Blackstreet also added that extra factor as his supporting acts bringing the same energy to the stage. Nelly doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon, with releasing new singles to touring around the world, he’s proving to everyone to that he’s going to be hanging around a while longer. And why wouldn’t we want him to..especially if everywhere he goes, it just feels like one big party that everyone is invited to.