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Live Photos + Review: Friday Jams Live 2018 - Western Springs Stadium, Auckland

Live Photos + Review: Friday Jams Live 2018 - Western Springs Stadium, Auckland

Photography by Ngamihi Pawa / Review by Fluffy / Monday 19th November, 2018 2:15PM

Auckland’s suburb of Western Springs was set ablaze by the towering inferno of aural delights that was this year's ZM's Friday Jams Live festival. Held amusingly enough on a Sunday, if the memories of last year’s event and the piles of discarded beverage vessels lining the streets approaching the stadium were anything to go by, the show would deal a considerable blow to local workplace attendance on Monday morning. Nostalgic anthem enthusiast Fluffy was there to soak up the vibes.

I love Western Springs Stadium. The lush greenery and pleasant lakeside surroundings tucked away only a few minutes saunter from the CBD are some of the best bits of the super city. The format for Friday Jams Live isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel. Hip hop and RnB artists everyone knows, loves and looks back on with rose-tinted fondness, playing tracks deeply embedded in the public’s collective consciousness, with an obscenely large production budget and the odd bit of stage banter to keep things chugging along.

Che Fu & The Kratez and Kings represented the homegrown contingent well, while hit after radio-conquering hit emerged from the formidable slew of artists such as Ginuwine, Estelle, Naughty By Nature, Tiao Cruz, Salt N Pepa and the impossibly gangster Eve. The lazy Sunday atmosphere and sun-kissed setting proved without a shadow of a doubt that Summer was well and truly here.

As the slow-roll of the afternoon turned into a temperate early evening and darkness descended, the final, double-header set of Usher and Lil Jon began. The dynamic duo have clearly perfected the art of musical good-cop, bad-cop with the former often appearing like water, being backlit by gentle blue hues, while the latter was like fire, with deep reds accompanying his sub-heavy crunk bangers. Industrial-sized CO2 cannons were out in force throughout proceedings and Lil Jon’s unparalleled and cheeky hype man prowess was the icing on the cake of Usher’s honeycomb sweet vocal delivery.

Tunes such as ‘Confessions Pt II’ were a little close to home for a reviewer-adjacent couple, who were bitterly arguing for a solid chunk of the chart-topping smash hit. By that point Usher was on to his third partly ripped black singlet and I feel that’s a respectable ratio of tearing garments from one’s upper-body. It was around this point that the man of the hour asked the burning question of the ginormous, uproarious audience “how many single people have we got here tonight?," following with the logical response of “yeah, me too”. Proceedings were also enhanced by conveniently-placed suburb residents intermittently letting off the last of their Guy Fawkes Day fireworks stashes.

As the evening began to draw to a close ‘Get Low’ set the natural amphitheatre on fire, with crowd’s enthusiastic sing alongs drowning out the gargantuan PA, in between classic track muting sing along encouragements. The mash up of mega-hits ‘Yeah’ and ‘Turn Down For What’ was the stadium-sized shout-along karaoke that I absolutely live for, while a full-bore extended acapella outro of ‘Burn’ crossed the line into all-out American Idol territory and I knew bed was calling.

The most succinct summary of events goes to local party starting deck-spinner Ill Baz, who mentioned on Twitter a few hours before the show: “On the way to see my DJ set in real life,” and that man’s DJ sets are lit AF.

Click on Ngamihi Pawa's snaps of Friday Jams Live 2018 below to view the full gallery of images...


Friday Jams Live 2018
Friday Jams Live 2018
Friday Jams Live 2018
Friday Jams Live 2018
Friday Jams Live 2018
Friday Jams Live 2018

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