Chris Isaak – Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre: April 24, 2024 (Concert Review)

A last minute venue change landed Chris Isaak and his band at the more intimate Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre here in Auckland as Chris and the band closed out their tour in style.

And there was plenty of style on display as Isaak was sporting his iconic “suit made of sparkles” a blue spangled Nudie Suit no doubt worn in tribute to The King himself. More on that later on.

Mel Parsons

Mel ParsonsIt was our own Mel Parsons who got the evening going with a solo set at 7pm precisely. The lights in the venue were still up and fans were still filing in, yet Mel turned in a 30 minute set featuring faves like Offer Down and Don’t Wait…a new song, possibly titled 5,4,3,2I Got The Lonely from her 2018 album Glass Heart that sounds like it was written for Mr. Isaak himself and crowd pleaser Far Way which closed her part of the evening.

Mel’s got a new album on the way and her own headlining show with her band at Q Theatre on June 15th. Be there.

Chris Isaak

“If you like sad songs, you’ve come to the motherlode”, announced Isaak.

Yep, that’s why we’re here and he did not disappoint with songs like Somebody’s Crying, Don’t Leave Me Alone and Blue Hotel leaving fans smiling, even as they wiped away their tears.

Chris IsaakThe 67-year-old old Isaak looked and sounded great and it was something of a relief to note that his age was barely mentioned and definitely wasn’t an issue as he held that high note at the end of Wicked Game and again during Dancin’.

The band consists of long-time rhythm section Rowland Salley (bass), drummer Kenny Dale Johnson, guitarist Hershel Yatovitz and (relative) new guy, keyboard player Timothy Drury.

Together, they are The Silvertones, and this show runs like a well-oiled machine. Isaak makes plenty of wise cracks…”this is not an audience, it’s a mob!”…as a female fan screams.

Within 15 minutes, Isaak is wading into the crowd, singing Waiting from 1993’s San Francisco Nights, while nearly sitting on a fan’s lap.

“I’m heavier than I look” he quips as he heads for the upper balcony and continues to croon from there.

Looking back at his band who are still on the stage, Chris notes how good looking they are, particularly drummer Kenny Johnson who, “looks like a young kd lang”.

But along with all the shtick and the jokes came some beautiful music.

Songs like Wicked Games and Blue Hotel are a given…but I gotta say his version of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love was a stunner…pure romance oozing from the stage.

For the encore, audience members were invited up on that stage during Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing and once up and dancing, many were reluctant to leave.

Chris Isaak

Who can blame them?

The night was still young, the tour was coming to an end and Chris and the boys treated us to a cover of James Brown’s I’ll Go Crazy.

A “jam session” resulted in a version of Blues Stay Away From Me with The Way Things Really Are finally closing out the night.

By this time Isaak was wearing a suit covered in disco mirrors and the audience was thrilled to have witnessed this special night.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:

Chris Isaak:

Mel Parsons:

Chris Isaak setlist:

  1. American Boy
  2. Somebody’s Crying
  3. Waiting
  4. Don’t Leave Me On My Own
  5. I Want Your Love
  6. Wicked Game
  7. Go Walking Down There
  8. Summer Holiday
  9. Speak Of The Devil
  10. Oh, Pretty Woman
  11. Forever Blue
  12. Two Hearts
  13. Baby What You Want Me To Do
  14. Only The Lonely
  15. Take My Heart
  16. Dancin’
  17. Can’t Help Falling In Love
  18. Blue Hotel
  19. Notice The Ring
  20. San Francisco Days
  21. Big Wide Wonderful World


  1. Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing
  2. You Don’t Cry Like I Do
  3. I’ll Go Crazy
  4. Blues Stay Away From Me
  5. The Way Things Really Are