Harry Styles – Mt. Smart Stadium: March 7, 2023

Harry Styles put on a show at Auckland’s Mt. Smart Stadium and 13th Floor’s Jemilah Ross-Hayes was there to to report back to you!

But first…


Google maps wasn’t needed last night as anyone hoping to end up at Mt Smart for Harry Styles could have just followed the trail of feather boas. Despite the disregarded environmental impact, it made it easy to spot the Harry Styles fans all the way from Queen Street. The audience has to be one of the most colourful concerts to exist, heads donned in cowboy hats of all colours and many a DIY pant sporting H S on each pocket.

British indie-rock band Wet Leg have been on the lineup for Harry’s AUS/NZ leg of the tour. The two acts connected after Harry covered Wet Leg’s song Wet Dream in 2022 on BBC Radio 1.

Wet Leg’s set begins with a haunted house-like droning soundscape. They might be tiny specs hundreds of metres away but they sure do have a full sound. They crack right into it with Wet Dream and the few thousand people already at the arena seem keen to grab a quick video of the band whose music has become a Tik Tok sensation.

Supermarket has lots of stripped back verses where the quirky lyrics shine through and it’s nice to hear an indie-punk-rock sound whilst also being able to hear what they are saying.

Wet Leg do a great job of playing with innuendo throughout their songs, switching between talking directly and indirectly about sex. It seems to have become an iconic trait of their music, something that makes them stand out. They have a nice mix of songs, all with this indie-punk-rock undertone but with quite a lot of variation throughout especially in vocal tone, the lead singer Rhian Teasdale goes from speech-like to operatic to screaming.

Just before their final few songs Teasdale takes her sunnies off and asks… “Are you sure you’re excited for Harry?”

The band takes turns to ask each other how they are doing. It is a nice personal moment on stage but sadly the second vocalist Ellis Durand has a super quiet voice and it’s impossible to hear her so her answer doesn’t get much reaction from the crowd.

“I’m in really good spirits cuz we get to go to Hobbiton tomorrow” Teasdale exclaims.

The drummer Henry Holmes wraps up with “IM BLOODY AMAZING” complimented by a sick drum fill and into the next song they go.

Continuing on with their Halloween-like theme, they share that they have all been practising their longest and hardest screams. They encourage the audience to join in, Teasdale counts 123 and the band just screams for about a minute. You can tell which songs are Tik Tok famous like Too Late Now by the crowd’s instant reaction.

They end with another Tik Tok banger Chaise Lounge and everyone is screaming along.

Wet leg’s soundscape is full of super interesting sound effects and combined with the variation of vocal tones that Teasdale uses throughout it makes for a quirky and different sound.


In between sets, the speakers blast Best Song Ever, a One Direction classic that the crowd goes wild for. A sea of phones emerge instantly to capture the moment. About 20 crew dressed in black that look like ants from the back scuttle on stage setting up Harry’s set. Bohemian Rhapsody plays as the screens go black. 

Bird songs and a lulling bass line with keys underneath it plays for a while, the sea of phones rises again and the audience is aglow with the lights from their screens. The intro is long but quite calming really and it sets the anticipation high for what is to come.

Harry’s set starts off with Music For a Sushi Restaurant and by the chorus, everyone’s dancing their hearts out. Harry points the mic to the audience a fair few times, getting the crowd to sing the lyrics for him. He picks up an acoustic guitar smoothly between songs and seamlessly transitions into Golden.

The percussion set up is wild and the percussionist Pauli Lovejoy is really bringing the energy, shaking a tambourine and dancing with his entire body in front of his set up.

Harry’s got an infectious and playful energy on stage, dancing and jumping everywhere and the crowd laps it up. The lead guitarist Mitch Rowland is technically brilliant and it’s really nice to hear the guitar more front and centre live as it’s something you don’t really catch on the records. 

Harry’s blowing kisses to the audience left right and centre during the breakdown/bridge section and the fans in the front row are most definitely melting. In between songs he starts Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi and the crowd shouts “AUĒ” in response. He didn’t seem to be expecting the song to continue and laughingly admits… “It’s much longer than I was told it was.”

This is his only show in Aotearoa, an interesting choice for someone who could have easily sold out shows in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland but he seems aware that people have likely travelled a while to see him. “Good evening Auckland… and surrounding areas” he addresses the crowd. “It’s a pleasure to be here. Did everyone do the census thing? As long as you’re all accounted for then we can continue. We’ve got a great show for you tonight, I think…I hope… This isn’t Saturday night live but I promise you we’ll do our best.”

The visuals are colourful and overlap footage of cars driving down highways through Just Keep Driving. People scream as the intro to Women rings out over the arena. This song showcases an epic guitar solo and the whole band is headbanging and jamming out with eachother in an extended bridge section. Kiwi-keyboard artist Ny Oh who opened the evening with her own set has picked up a keytar and the cameras zoom in to catch the action.

“Does everyone feel emotionally stable?” Harry asks the crowd and thanks everyone for supporting him over the last “however many years of his life. The next song is incredibly special to me and I hope one day it is just a little bit special to you.”

He whips out an acoustic guitar again for the soft lulling tune Matilda. The crowd sways with their torch lights in the air. It is a beautiful calm moment and everyone is in awe. Harry is really so full of charisma and charm you can just see how he holds his fans in the palm of his hand.

After Satellite he turns to the audience and asks everyone to hold up their signs if they brought them. It’s become expected that Harry picks out a funny sign from the audience and interacts with it.

He picks out two signs, one that says “we sold our cat’s leg to be here” to which he responds “so many questions!” and one that says “bestie going through a breakup” to which he discovers was because the ex wasn’t prioritising her. He turns to the audience and yells “PRIORITISE YOURSELVES PEOPLE!!!” and the crowd screams. 

He has a secret talent for stand-up comedy it seems and it shines through the naturally comedic way he interacts with his audience. After introducing his band and taking a moment to welcome Ny Oh home as she does a headstand in front of a Maori flag, they continue on with the rest of the set. 

The energy is peaking with Late Night Talking, Watermelon Sugar and he brings it down a notch for Love Of My Life, holding the mic stand up in the air as the audience sings the chorus and then slinking off stage as the song finishes.

No one moves an inch. Of course there is going to be an encore.

He does make the crowd wait for it but eventually saunters back on stage to wow everyone with Sign of The Times. “Welcome to the final show” are fitting lyrics as this is his final show for a while. His vocals are powerful but also vulnerable, it feels like he’s singing it for the first time emotionally even though it must be his thousandth.

The crowd goes absolutely ballistic for the next tune Medicine, an unreleased song that fans only get the chance to hear live. He does a few more thank you’s and informs the audience that they’ll soon be free to do whatever they like “until we return, which will be, I’m not sure yet but I hope it’s not as long as last time.”

He thanks his band, the openers, the crew and the audience, thankfully exclaiming… “You’ve changed my life over and over again.” And to “Put love out into the world it needs you!”

During As It Was, everyone shouts the lyrics “leave America ” hoping to be louder than the Australian audience that supposedly was so loud it blew people’s eardrums.

The last tune is the one everyones been waiting for. ”You should know this next one, it’s named after you!!” There’s a long pause and the crowd chants “kiwi kiwi kiwi!” He shushes us before launching into the rock song. “How often do I get to sing Kiwi with a bunch of kiwis?” He asks rhetorically, smiling.

It’s nice that he sings the songs live with different rhythmic and melodic inflections. It makes coming to see him live feel like a worthwhile and unique experience rather than just listening to his recorded music.

To finish the night he skips to the front of the stage with a Maori flag around his shoulders and runs off as the band wrap up the song, probably to get home before the traffic which is absolutely fair enough.

Jemilah Ross-Hayes