Teddy Swims – Spark Arena: July 6, 2024 (13th Floor Concert Review)

TEDDY SWIMS delivered an utterly knockout Saturday night experience to a capacity Tamaki Makaurau crowd, who won’t forget it in a hurry.

The 31 year old singer/songwriter is, in many ways, a contradiction – large, imposing and heavily tattooed (across his neck, face, head, hands and presumably much of the rest of his body) but incredibly respectful, polite, soft Teddy Swimsand tender; young, but with the voice and presence of an old soul (who loves Soul); hugely successful, with millions of YouTube followers and views, yet incredibly humble. He’s très hip, but cheerfully belts out a mum-pleasing cover of Shania Twain. But somehow he makes all of this work in an authentic and touching way which delights audiences around the world, including tonight’s sell-out crowd at Spark Arena.

Alongside his band – his five “best friends” Freak Freely – Swims followed up an impressive warm up set by Australian songstress Meg Mac with an energetic, full-on Meg Macprogramme of 21 songs, punctuated by conversation, confessional and concern for the crowd’s welfare. He told fans to “Check on your friends – make sure they’re OK” and told them to “Drink some water!”, with the advice “Get hammered, have fun…but safety first.” There were certainly several overly happy alcohol-assisted individuals in the crowd, and a couple of times Swims stopped the show when spotting folks who needed to be removed from the mosh pit. I’ve seen more frenzied crowds, but this level of care and concern from a visiting artist was next-level.

This latest stop on the I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy tour was full production, with streamers, spark towers and fire plumes, yet still the arena’s vast capacity managed to feel intimate – due to Swims’ honesty, sincerity and clear desire to connect with his audience. He talked about his family, how he missed those he’s lost and professing his adoration for his mum. He requested that the audience “Text someone you’ve been thinking about and tell them “I love you, I miss you.” The pop psychology continued with advice to “Be here in this moment” and the philosophical observation that “What you put into life, you get back.” What Swims got back from the Auckland crowd was adoration, chants of “Teddy, Teddy” and singalongs to his much loved songs.

After taking to the stage alongside the excellent Freak Freely – all dressed in double denim and AB shirts – Swims launched into Goodbye’s Been Good To You, with rock overtones and the first majestic guitar break of several during the show. You can’t pin this guy down – is he delivering rock, pop, R&B, soul, folk or country? There are complex flamenco-esque rhythms in Hammer To My Heart, hard-core guitar in All That Really Matters and feelgood vibes in What More Can I Say and 911, with funky sax input. Simple Things had the folksy feel of Passenger crossed with the country vibes of Luke Combs. The eclectic and idiosyncratic mix works. It’s compelling and entertaining, hugely enjoyable and captivating.

Teddy Swims

He ‘tested out’ a new song which was great, although I didn’t quite catch the title – it could have been Little Black Dress? He rolled out his much-loved cover of Shania Twain’s You’re Still The One and after professing his love of all things Kiwi, started out on his tribute to Six60 with a cover of Rivers, with a surprise guest appearance by his “mate” Matiu Walters.

Swims kept the audience waiting for an hour and a half before delivering his biggest hit Lose Control in the encore, before finishing with an upbeat and utterly spectacular rendition of The Door, before the actual doors opened to eject a delighted crowd out to a chilly Auckland night.

With his honesty, vulnerability, openness and charm, we got a real understanding of this Georgia native. I get the impression that he doesn’t need therapy whilst he has an outlet to express his losses, experiences and feelings through beautifully crafted, often poignant song lyrics. It was an uplifting and fabulous gig – and never once did Teddy Swims Lose Control of his high-spirited and appreciative audience. Wellington fans lucky enough to have tickets for his last sell-out gig in NZ before Teddy Swims across the ditch for the Aussie leg of the tour – you’re in for a treat tonight!

Carin Newbould

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

Teddy Swims:

Meg Mac:


  1. Goodbye’s Been Good To You
  2. What More Can I Say?
  3. Broke
  4. 911
  5. Dose
  6. Hammer To My Heart
  7. All That Really Matters
  8. Devil in A Dress
  9. NEW SONG – Little Black Dress?
  10. Apple Juice
  11. Suitcase
  12. Rivers (Six60 cover)
  13. Simple Things
  14. Amazing
  15. Some Things I’ll Never Know
  16. You’re Still The One (Shania Twain cover)
  17. Growing Up Is Getting Old
  18. Bed on Fire


  1. Tell Me
  2. Lose Control
  3. The Door