Brooke Fraser & Georgia Lines – Spark Arena: June 22, 2024 (Concert Review)

Brooke Fraser teamed up with the Auckland Philharmonia to bring 12,000 fans an evening of lush, beautiful, brilliant music.

And if that wasn’t enough, opening act Georgia Lines proved to be the icing on this very sweet cake.

With the rain pouring down and a big game going on at Mt Eden Stadium, fans struggled to get to the venue in time, but most did. And they were rewarded for their efforts.

Georgia Lines

Georgia LinesGeorgia proved to this sold-out crowd (apparently the venue’s biggest ever crowd for a solo New Zealand artist) that she is indeed the rightful recipient for this year’s Tui for Best Pop Artist in 2024. To top it off, her debut album, The Rose Of Jericho, nailing the number one spot on the Official NZ Music top 20 NZ album chart.

Her stunning six-song set had the audience swooning. Georgia has never sounded better, her voice soaring during The Letter and the crowd loving her cover of Billie Eilish’s When The Party’s Over.

Georgia looked fabulous as well in her line green gown. Producer Nic Manders was brought out to accompany Georgia on set-closer Grand Illusion. My only complaint was that it seemed a shame that Georgia had to use orchestral backing tracks for several tunes when the Philarmonia’s instruments and empty seats were right behind her. Hopefully next time they will share the stage with her.

Brooke Fraser

A brief break and then the lights go down and the orchestra tunes up…always sounding to me like the beginning of the Sgt. Pepper album.

Brooke FraserThe stage set and lighting was impressive for Brooke’s set…nine tall pillars (or obilisks) lined up behind her as she stood on a raised platform overseeing the Philharmonia in her deep red gown…with very 80’s shoulder pads.

The nearly-two hour set opened with Magical Machine, and from the first notes it was clear this was going to be a special evening. The orchestra sounded fantastic. To those who badmouth the sound quality at this venue I say, a good engineer can make this room sound wonderful, and it does tonight.

Brooke Fraser has a formidable voice and she too, is in fine form.

Which is good as we are informed the show is being “recorded and filmed”, so hopefully those who couldn’t be here with be able to enjoy this at a later date.

The 17-song setlist spanned Fraser’s career and included a couple of new songs, one in particular, written for her young daughter, Rooney.

Fraser, at age 40, is a veteran performer and her between-song banter was often as entertaining as the music as she touched on such pressing topic as sweat patches, deodorant, pumping and parenting with plenty of self-deprecating humour and ease.

Since the show was being recorded, there were a couple of times when things came to a halt and needed to be reset…both Ice On Her Lashes and St. Petersburg got false starts, but Brooke (and conductor Hamish McKeich) handled it with grace and poise.

As the evening progressed, the vibe loosed up and by the time they got to Kings & Queens, there were folks in the front row dancing and waving their arms in the air.

The highlight for me happened when Fraser came down from her tower and called Georgia Lines and Ny Oh on stage to sing an acappella version of new song, Hour Glass. The 3-part harmonies were perfect.

Brooke Fraser

Speaking of guests…Brooke’s inspirations, Anika Moa and Bic and Boh Runga were in the audience and Teeks stepped out to duet on Who Are We Fooling?

The set came to an emotional close as Teeks, Ny Oh and Georgia Lines joined in to pay tribute to Sir Dave Dobbyn with Welcome Home…Brooke remembering that he was one of the few artist she played support for…the others being Bic Runga, David Bowie and John Mayer.

It was that kind of evening and it came to a rapturous end with a harp’s glissando as Brooke Fraser went back to her first album to sing Arithmetic and, finally, another crowd favourite, Shadowfeet.

Clearly this was a big night for artists and technicians alike and all put on a show they should be proud of. I guess we’ll keep an eye out for a concert film sometime down the line.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Jeong:

Brooke Fraser:

Georgia Lines:

Brooke Fraser setlist:

  1. Magical Machine
  2. Better
  3. Betty
  4. Deciphering Me
  5. Kings & Queens
  6. Ice On Her Lashes
  7. Flags
  8. Petersburg
  9. S. Lewis Song
  10. Hour Glass
  11. Rooney’s Song
  12. Something In The Water
  13. Albertine
  14. Who Are We Fooling?
  15. Welcome Home
  16. Arithmetic
  17. Shadowfeet

Georgia Lines setlist:

  1. Grow Old Without You
  2. Wayside
  3. The Letter
  4. When The Party’s Over
  5. Hine e Hine
  6. Grand Illusion