Concert Review with PHOTOS: ZM'S Friday Jams LIVE 2018


By Lisa Diedricks

Date / Venue: Sunday November 18th, 2018 - Western Springs Stadium, Auckland

I know the term “If you weren’t there, you really missed out,” is probably over-used in reviews. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this time, it’s 100% true! 

Yesterday Auckland City brought back the infamous Friday Jams brought to us by ZM, and without a doubt, had Auckland dancing all day and night long. 

Western Springs was packed to the brim with Hip Hop and RnB fans from all over the country enjoying the sun, beers, and classic tunes to make Sunday the best yet. Kings was first up, and of course with this man’s knowledge of stage presence and experience in opening huge nights, he and his band knew exactly how to get the crowd rolling. His first release Don’t Worry ‘bout it caused an epic sing along, but it was his recent single 6 figures and some of the new tunes from his recent album that had the people wanting more. 

Che Fu and his collective were next up and dominated the stage with their tracks old and new and kicked it up a notch with some classic kiwi vibes. It’s always a good time seeing kiwi artists perform at such high volume events like this, and getting love like no other from their fans. 

The start of the international acts were about to begin, and none other than Grammy award winning Estelle was first up, greeted with a roar of applause.She swayed effortlessly on stage and wore a perfect ensemble stunning on her.

RnB sex symbol Genuine swooped in, and I swear the flock of females that boomed passed me to get to that stage was insane. The Pony and Differences singer was a crowd favourite as he purposely sang to everyone in the front and made eye contact so that screams could be heard a mile away. Pressed up in all white attire, the man looked good. I won’t lie, my tummy fluttered a bit when the infamous Pony roll came out. Thanks for that Genuine. Thank you very much. 

Now this Next act is where my fan girl comes into play and where my night really begins. RnB soulsters Next were up, and omg they were insane. The band were announced after the US RnB star T-Pain unfortunately couldn’t make it over for the show, after a family emergency. Growing up all I used to do was listen to their music and pretend they were singing to me, back then I didn’t know that most of their lyrics were provocative, but weren’t all 90s jams? Seeing these guys live has ticked another childhood bucket list item off. Hits like Too Close, Beauty Queen, and the internationally popular Wifey, were undoubtedly my faves of the night! Dressed to match with their All Blacks rugby jerseys, the boys took most of us back to the 90s with their vibes and lyrics. 

As the night rolled on, it got as the kids would say “LIT” and they wouldn’t be wrong! Taio Cruz made his appearance, and popped out some crazy bangers that most of us forgot he had. I think of him as the Jason Derulo of his time, pop dance classics that made you think back to your clubbing days! Hangover, was for sure my favourite as I made the adult decision to limit myself to two beers that night. Pat on the back for Lis. 

In between stages weren’t bad at all, Australia’s DJ Horizon kept the crowd dancing all day whilst waiting for next act, you would sometimes you’d actually forget you were at a festival and feel that you were just in a giant hip hop club. Acts were quick to come after each other, with only about 10 or so minutes in between. Speaking of waiting, didn’t have to do much of that for food or drinks either, well not me personally, and from what I saw, everyone seemed to be moving at a reasonable pace.

Eve ladies and gentlemen! A crowd favourite for sure, as she laid down all her oldies and had the arena singing along. Her first time ever in New Zealand, she was for sure wowed by the support she received. Styling up in her fluorescent pink jacket and pants, and that infamous blonde hair and paw tattoos, Auckland welcomed her with open arms. Hits like Blow your mind, Got What you Need, and Tambourine, were definitely on my wish list and I was not disappointed! She is by far the most effortlessly cool artist around and part of the OGs that reign supreme. 

The following act was one for the bros, hip hop icons and pioneers, Naughty by Nature took the stage and performed as if it was their headline tour. So much passion, so much fun, so much love, the band along with their mascot, rapped to the crowd and of course bought out a bottle of Veuve and popped it for the people of Auckland City. Genuine made a sneaky appearance on their set as they busted out their Grammy award winning track Hip Hop Hooray, and OPP, taking us all back to those 90s days in your parent’s garage just blasting the track on your boombox. Nostalgia at its best.

The night was coming to a close and the crowd was getting more hyped as they realised that the main act of the night was soon to be here, but before that could happen, we had to have something for those 70s and 80s babies! And who better than the legendary artists Salt n Pepa people! I don’t think many people can say that have seen these women perform live before, and last night was a huge show for them as this was the first time they had appeared together in a while.

Women from all over the arena flocked to the main stage to see this performance, and let me tell you they have it! From their bedazzled shoes to their very holey pants, there were no boundaries to the sex appeal as they flaunted it all on stage. From hits like Push it, to Let’s Talk about Sex, the crowd was feeling them as they brought that 80s groove back into our lives. 

And then the time was here. The moment everyone was waiting for…and let be warn you now, these last few minutes of you reading this review is going to be pretty much a giddy fan girl appreciation letter. 

Usher. Usher Raymond IV. You sir, are a flipping GOD! Or as I heard the very enthusiastic man behind me say “YOU’RE THE GOAT MATE” meaning Greatest of All Time. And yeah I’ll take that, Usher proved once again why he is the best. From stage production, to dancers, to fire, to smoke, to mics, to DJs, I can seriously go on but you get it, we were without fail at an Usher concert.

Of course I had my wish list of songs and OMFG he did not let me down, tracks off his debut album, to his Grammy award winning albums, to his singles with other international artists, and not to mention that friggin Lil Jon was there as his MC. Personally I think that having Lil Jon there was an added bonus and sort of like a mini concert within the “Usher concert” as Jon has copious amounts of hits that the crowd were gagging to get down to. Shots, for obvious reasons was my favourite, and of course the OG classic Get Low, it was a decent laugh seeing everyone physically get low when the track blasted through. Usher came on and off throughout the night, and at one stage the DJ was playing Usher’s songs like a remixed track. Reason being, in my “ahhh” moment, that he was trying to get ALL the hits that everyone wanted just so no one was left feeling disappointed. Funny thing is, when this remixed tracks were being played, Usher was back stage getting changed. Well thought out, different, but slightly weird at the same time. Anyway I can’t complain; I danced my ass off. 

As his set same to an end, Usher brought out the one and only Usher Chain, in which Lil Jon exclaimed, “Oh they want the old Usher, give it to them then man.” And wow. He did. U Remind Me, Confessions, U Got it Bad, Climax, Nice and Slow, (which by the way did anyone see him Magic Mike that microphone stand?) he literally played hit after hit after hit and I was in my element. 

He ended the night with his number one selling single Yeah! But not before ripping off his shirt twice and a quick outfit change about 4 times.  And the crowd lapped it up with every smile, head nod, scream and shout, which has most likely resulted in no voice today. Being my second time seeing this superstar live, I must say it was better the second time around! 

The event itself was as expected, packed, hot, drunken yarns and laughs all round. So much space for people to sit and hang out. Areas for each wristband were controlled amazingly well. Shout out the security and crew that worked the event! They did a great job at keeping every one safe! There was enough space for everyone to dance and from where I was standing the view was perfect! Definitely it was a much better venue this year,.

Friday Jams, you did it again. Now, time to rest these feet!