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Live Review: TLC - Vector Arena, Auckland (+ Photos)

Live Review: TLC - Vector Arena, Auckland (+ Photos)

Monday 28th November, 2016 10:07AM

TLC is a light in the darkness of the big bad world; a source of confidence to those unsure of themselves and a beacon of matriarchal knowledge to the record-listening populace the world over. To see them in the flesh was something both my inner child and sing-along enthused adult self leaped to heavens at the thought of.

Firstly, it was immensely refreshing to see a live music event at which the majority of attendees were female.

Opener Montell Jordan reminded me of my pre-teen days listening to the likes of Usher. However, Montell easily exhibited far more effortless flow.

In-between sets Boiis 2 Men and Biggie Smalls sing-alongs made the entire stadium feel like a game of Singstar with several thousand of your new best mates.

Atlantan outfit 112 pulled out all the swoony stops with their excellent choreography and classy crooning. Seas of cellphone lights were seen in lieu of cigarette lighters during their slower jams.

Finally at 10pm sharp, the TLC crew took to the stage. At first the DJ with the pink mohawk and face mask reminded me of a bedazzled Slipknot member who hadn’t managed to find his way home after their concert a few weeks ago. He eventually won me around by playing Savage’s ‘Swing’ right after ‘California Love’ during a mid-set break. I chuckled to myself at the notion that the stylist had taken a leaf out of the book of some of my crust punk friends, with Tionne Watkins (aka T-Boz) and Rozonda Thomas (aka Chilli) adorning ripped, studded and patched denim on denim outfits. Giggles continued as I contemplated asking if one of the back-up dancers would split a Discharge LP with me after the show.

A little envy coursed through the heart of every male attendee as one lucky punter was pulled up on stage during ‘Red Light Special’. Lo and behold, he squandered such a privilege with some unwanted touching but the TLC queens shrugged off the poor attempt at humour like the plebeian he was and continued on to rock the stadium.

The crazily tight live band and stage show easily proved there is a mine of worth in their material that flows much deeper then ‘Waterfalls’. It was a timely reminder that we’re all human and we all feel awkward and unpretty some times. The unity felt at this show was unprecedented, even if you didn’t know half as many of the words as your relentless sing-along attempts would suggest. The aforementioned band showed off their chops with a slap bass solo trading off against a drummer who could play fills for days, if not weeks.

Although it was a standard trope, my icy heart melted a little and I believed band members when they said that New Zealand showed them the most love of all the countries that they had been to. Another mid-set skit was played through and as soon as the word “holla” was uttered, a deafening roar filled the stadium. Not since the 90s was the word “scrub” felt so prevalently.

There was no hologram of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, as my wildest dreams had dared to hope but her acapellas were heard loud and clear. The set was completed with classic hit ‘Waterfalls’, a fitting outro as it heavily features Left Eye and thousands of voices were heard as one.

All in all, the show was the equivalent of 10,000 triumphant karaoke sessions. It reminded me of a simpler time when stealing kisses from your sweetheart was top of your to do list and the freshness of your kicks was the only currency worth cashing in.

Take a look through some great shots from the show below, courtesy of Ngamihi Pawa


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