Ariana Grande – Spark Arena September 2, 2017


Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman Tour made its way to Auckland’s Spark Arena, filling the venue with screaming prepubescent girls anxious to see their idol.

Grande’s performance was an exercise in precision…from the 10-minite video countdown that preceded the main even to her and her 10-man dance troupe’s slick moves to her pin-point vocal technique.

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)

The audience knew their part in this scenario and played it well, screaming and cheering wildly as Grande’s image beckoned during the video countdown.

When the 24-year-old pop star hit the stage, it was all on. The music pumped, the dancers jumped, the lights flashed and the fans squealed with delight.

The show featured everything a her adoring fans could ask for…plenty of hits, lots of costume changes and even hundreds of fake dollar bills, fluttering from on high, with Grande’s portrait on them.

The only thing missing seemed to be Grande herself.

Sure, she was there, in the flesh. But her interaction with the crowd was minimal at best. Other than shouting out for New Zealand to “make some noise”…which it did…the only other banter came when Ariana stopped down to tell us that “there are so many sheep here”.

Thanks! But we knew that.

It mattered little as there was plenty to keep short attention spans occupied…lasers, pink balloons, glow sticks and plenty of precision dancing.

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)

The one song that stood out was a stripped down version of Over The Rainbow, no doubt dedicated to the victims of the bombing in Manchester this past May.

Despite the extra security restrictions in place, the mood was upbeat and thankfully, those charged with enforcing those extra security measure did so good naturedly.

I must say, watching Grande’s very young fans arrive, dressed up to emulate their idol, really brought home how horrific and hateful that attack in Manchester was.

To her credit, Grande seems to realize how powerful her image is on these young girls. The show was relatively desexualized and during Side To Side a video played displaying words and slogans such as “Empowered”, “Strong” and “Not Asking For It”.

I imagine it must have been difficult for Grande to continue her tour after what had happened, and it’s possible that at this point, with a handful of shows to go, she just wants it to be over.

Still, she proved to be a trouper, and her young fans certainly appreciated the effort.

Marty Duda

Ariana Grande set list:

  1. Be Alright
  2. Everyday
  3. Bad Decisions
  4. Let Me Love You
  5. Knew Better Pt. II
  6. Forever Boy
  7. One Last Time
  8. Touch It
  9. Leave Me Lonely
  10. Side To Side
  11. Bang Bang
  12. Greedy
  13. Focus
  14. I Don’t Care
  15. Moonlight
  16. Love Me Harder
  17. Break Free
  18. Sometimes
  19. Thinking About You
  20. Over The Rainbow
  21. Problem
  22. Into You
  23. Dangerous Woman