Post Malone review: Mid-set blip nearly derails blistering Auckland gig

REVIEW: Wearing his heart on his sleeve is clearly what's won New Yorker Post Malone his myriad of fans. 

But midway through his Auckland show in front of some 19,000 fans on a balmy Tuesday night at the Outerfields in Western Springs, that genuine behaviour, overflowing charisma and fan interaction very nearly cost him some of them during a gig that was at times blistering, but aimless in a mid-section blip that threatened to derail proceedings. 

It's hard to fault the man's manners, thanking the crowd so "f***ing much" after most songs, and politely asking if we're all having a good time. Heck, even the declaration of "thanks for letting me back in this beautiful country" endeared him to the audience as much as his weekend karaoke session appears to have done at Danny Doolans in Auckland's Viaduct and his 'I Love Auckland' T-shirt did in January when he was last here. 

The man's just clearly a damn people-pleaser, who comes armed with affection and a back catalogue of killer songs. 

His desire to please is evident when lightly bullied by the audience into doing a shoey, after someone threw their trainer onto the stage apropos of nothing at all. 

Rating it a "4 out of 10" on an initial smell, Malone caved to the demand, before raising that first rating to a "6 out of 10" after imbibing and inhaling "hints of oak and strawberry". 

Yet when he dragged Rachel from Auckland out of the crowd to have her play guitar to 'Stay' and she went on to give a long speech ("I'm literally shaking so much"), the lull in what had until this point been a ferocious set that mixed pyrotechnics, beautifully hued lights and a strong medley of fan and radio favourites, nearly proved fatal - despite the audience chants of "Rachel, Rachel, Rachel". 

Distracted by a back tattoo of his own face on a Justin Bieber-like Daniel who was also brought on stage for an impromptu seemingly endless meet and greet and autograph, the energy lull was palpable off-stage and sections of the audience in the middle of the field appeared listless and ready to desert their icon.  

You'd have to have a heart of stone to not be won over by the goofy desire of the man to take it all in and meet his fans, but it seemed the spectre of the concert curmudgeon was about to overshadow the love for ole Posty. 

A preening Post Malone put on one hell of an Auckland show.
A preening Post Malone put on one hell of an Auckland show. Photo credit: TOM GRUT/ Live Nation

But seconds later, launching into a stunning 'I Fall Apart', Malone had them eating out of his hands again, demonstrating his power as a performer and his skill as an artist. The audience was left swaying together amid the golden light showered down upon them; 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' followed with its blend of disco and boogie and suddenly all was forgiven. 

In truth, it's Malone's older hits like 'Circles', 'Better Now', 'Rockstar', 'White Iverson' and 'I Like You' that sets the audience off into a heaving bouncing frenzy, pogoing on the spot; a tacit acknowledgement that while his newer tunes have the groove, the older ones have their three minute mixes of hip hop, R&B, trap and pure pop all sewn up to perfection. 

With a message of positivity and empowerment as the night drew to a close ("Someone not feeling so loved, you are loved" and "I love you more than life itself"), excellence was dished out in the closing moments as 'Sunflower' and "one more song before I go" 'Chemical' were dispatched to an expectant and joyous audience. 

Golden lights bathed the crowd and Posty at times during a blockbuster show.
Golden lights bathed the crowd and Posty at times during a blockbuster show. Photo credit: Tom Grut / Live Nation

Rapturous cheers matched Malone's own gratitude between songs as he mused "the energy here is insane", in between prancing like a dressage pony across the stage, gyrating in some very short shorts and throwing in some dance routine moves at times. There's no denying the 'If Yall Weren't Here, I'd Be Crying' tour was an endearing, energetic and heartfelt performance that will leave many fans happy and deeply satiated. 

While Malone's excellent show didn't feel as tight as the set that would have won him many more fans in January at Mt Smart, it's hard to deny him the love he exudes to others. The addition of strings to his raspy vocals and killer tracks paid dividends, leaving songs hanging in the air and feeling almost rhapsodic at points. 

But even though this was a blockbuster performance in a venue perfectly suited for Malone's showmanship, perhaps a little more discipline amid the eternal gratitude and the fervent adulation from the front row as the tour continues could pay him major dividends.