Migos performed in New Zealand for the first time at Spark Arena last night. Old soul Madeleine Chapman went along to see what the youths have been raving about.
Walking towards Spark Arena for the Migos concert, my cousin Shanee and I ducked into a dimly lit doorway to prepare for the security checks that would be happening at the door. Across the road, a group of teenagers had the same idea. Except while they were desperately finishing their cans of bourbon and tucking flasks into their waistbands, we were shoving Kit Kats and Skittles into our bras. Going to a concert on a Tuesday isn’t as fun when you know you have to work the next morning.
But for most of the attendees, this wasn’t a worry because it’s school holidays and I’d say over half of Migos fans at the show were school aged. Feeling suddenly old once we got inside, we headed straight for the seats during opener 6lack’s set. He was good. Good in a way that, despite never having listened to his music, I thoroughly enjoyed his stuff and he had a level of energy and competence that was unmatched by the rest of the night’s performers.
With doors opening at seven and the show beginning at eight, any and all hardcore fans were amped and ready to go by nine o’clock thanks to their sneaky pre-drinks. The energy was certainly there, but instead of being channeled to the guys they paid to see, it went into having a rave to the stereo playlist that played for almost an hour before Migos emerged. It was good to see people enjoying the wait, though. When Cardi B’s ‘Bodak Yellow’ started playing, the crowd went crazy. Sitting up in the stands, retrieving a Wonka licorice from my bra strap, I felt like a contented grandma watching her children have fun. Then I saw a guy hassling a girl who wasn’t keen and the illusion was broken.
At 9:30, DJ Durel, Migos’ official DJ, came out to huge cheers, only to then show everyone that he wasn’t as good as the Spotify playlist we’d all been enjoying. Finally, at 9:45, Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff came onstage. “They better not play for only 45 minutes,” I muttered to Shanee, a grinch in hoodie disguise. But they did. At exactly 10:30pm, they were done without an encore. Not that one was necessary – by that time even the diehard fans at the front were getting to that stage of the night where they just wanted to sit down and eat a kebab. It was 45 minutes of mostly listless rapping on a stage that was entirely bare, save for a few random guys who just stood there and were never introduced. Someone also walked around the stage filming on a phone. Near the end of their set, Quavo asked for their microphones to be turned up because “they can’t hear me”. In reality, everyone could hear him saying “New Zealand” in the middle of a song but we were just too tired for the obligatory cheer.
There were two moments during the show that I am still thinking about now, a day later. The first was when Migos tried to get the crowd to form a circle pit. The only problem was they were preaching to a crowd of teens who clearly had no idea what a circle pit was. So while they instructed everyone to form “the biggest circle in the world”, we watched in vain as two tiny circles opened up. It took an uncomfortably long time for those small circles to form and Migos were getting annoyed. They then instructed the crowd to go crazy on the count of three. Before the countdown had even started, the circles filled up, I laughed, Shanee laughed. The Migos trio did not laugh. Instead, they stopped the song and told the crowd to do it again. “Widen that circle up. Widen. That. Shit. Up.”
Spoiler alert: it did not widen, and when the countdown ended everyone just ran into the middle aka to where they were standing before. It was very funny and a reminder to both me and Migos (equals in this alone) just how young their fans are.
The second moment was when a young man was called onto the stage. He met the guys and then they just started in on their next song, leaving him to freak out and jump around on stage with them for a bit. Then he started recording a portrait video on his phone. Halfway through he flipped it over to landscape and I let out an involuntary cry. The only thing worse than a portrait video is a portrait video flipped to landscape halfway through. I shed a tear for the poor boy and he’s still in my thoughts today.
Ultimately, it was an entertaining show in that everyone enjoyed themselves and the energy was high. But as far as Migos’ performance, it would have been just as enjoyable if their songs had simply been added to the surround sound playlist of the night.
As we left Spark Arena to head home, Shanee and I walked by a lot of sweaty, exhausted teenagers. They looked content, still too young to be disappointed in a night out.
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